Category Archives: Uncategorized

Mental Health Services Act: Then and Now

For a variety of reasons, I am being asked much more than ever about the thinking behind various provisions of the Mental Health Services Act when we are writing it in 2003 and how that relates to some of the challenges we now have.

The act still looks like it correctly identified what was needed to fulfill our goals. But many parts of it have not been implemented the way they were envisioned and a lot has changed from what we knew in 2003 when it was written.
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Biggest Highlights for This Year Are the Things That Didn’t Happen

“Repeal and Replace” And AB 1250. Those Threats Remain For 2018

2017 has been a year of positive stock market gains in a healthy California economy. The national economy is also doing well. Normally, in good economic times, our focus is on the opportunities created by unanticipated tax revenues from which we hope to get a portion dedicated to help improve behavioral health care services and facilities.

State Budget and Legislative Successes Mental Health Service Act

(MHSA) revenues are estimated to be up by $200 million which should provide growth in county programs. We had success in the earmarking of the growth in state administrative fund MHSA dollars, which are 5% of the total. Most went to a youth crisis care system which should see grant opportunities for counties and providers released from the California Health Facilities Financing Authority in the next few months. We also supported the Community College Mental Health Pilot Program, recognizing this is a key population for Prevention and Early Intervention with a large percentage being Medi-Cal recipients at many campuses, and others now obtaining insurance through the affordable care act or their parents- neither of which used to be possible. Continue reading Biggest Highlights for This Year Are the Things That Didn’t Happen

MHSA Revenues Grow Much Faster Than Other State and County Revenue Sources

MHSA revenues are growing much faster than other state and county revenue sources.   Why is this true and what are its implications?

Mike Geiss, the fiscal consultant to the Mental Health Services and Accountability Commission (OAC), and County Behavioral Health Directors (CBHDA) recently provided a report to the OAC documenting MHSA (Mental Health Services Act/Proposition 63) revenues since its enactment in November 2004.

The key finding in this report is that revenues for 2016-17 will be $450 million higher for 2016-17 than for 2015-16 and that revenues for 2015-16 will be about $200 million higher than had been forecast when those state and county budgets were adopted last summer.

We have the percentages for each county and the methodology  showing how the distributions were generated, so now everyone can see how much of a revenue increase their county or counties will be receiving – and how their relative shares may change over time under the current formula (which the state can change each year).

His report also documents the growth in MHSA revenues – from $900 million in the first full year of 2005-06 to $2 billion the current year of 2015-16. That reflects an 8% annual growth rate and is significantly higher than any other state revenue source as shown on this chart of historic tax yields.

Continue reading MHSA Revenues Grow Much Faster Than Other State and County Revenue Sources

Highlights from Governor’s 2016-17 Budget Proposal

Highlights from Governor’s 2016-17 Budget Proposal

On January 7th Governor Brown introduced his proposed 2016-17 budget.

State revenues are projected to be up about $6 Billion. This is the Department of Finance forecast which is more conservative than that of the legislative analyst. The actual budget to be enacted in June will be based on revised estimates due in May. Continue reading Highlights from Governor’s 2016-17 Budget Proposal

Time to Update the Mental Health Services Act

Economic Outlook Remains Positive, But Homeless Numbers Increase.

Time to Update the Mental Health Services Act

November 23, 2015

Last week two very important sets of numbers were released showing the disconnect between a healthy economy and the status of people who need behavioral health services.

The state’s Legislative Analyst presented an updated state budget forecast showing that state revenues will exceed the budget estimates by $3.5 billion for this year, a growing surplus for next year and for the next several years.

This is consistent with trends in reports we have provided showing significantly increased revenues for county behavioral health authorities. However, as we have reported in the past these revenue increases have not translated into expansion of services in very many counties. We noted that most counties had discontinued homeless outreach services during the recession and very few had restarted them in spite of two very good years of revenue growth with more forecast for next year.

That pattern is now reinforced by new homeless data showing that homeless numbers in California had risen over the past few years and we know that most of the homeless have significant behavioral health challenges and that chronic homelessness is almost always due to an untreated behavioral health condition (usually co-occurring mental health and chemical dependency).

Continue reading Time to Update the Mental Health Services Act