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What do you think about leaving a projected $200m on the shelf this year?

Last updated on May 3, 2024

Why weren’t you part of the decision making process that anticipates leaving $200m idle, instead of most of it being used to address critical crises affecting our county?

Rampant homelessness, jails as mental health facilities, rampant opioid and fentanyl overdose rates, and the more recently announced, Racism as a Public Health Crisis. These issues, on top of the apparent shortage of crisis care and psychiatric workforce and the need for crisis stabilization units in key areas throughout the county.

Here’s the table. You can click on the source documents, which includes all of the MHSA Three-Year Program and Expenditure Plans and Updates the BHS submits each year. More on this process later.

Download a copy.

My bet is stakeholders, if they had the opportunity to participate in an authentic Community Program Planning (CPP) plan-development process, would have made sure these and other issues were discussed, evaluated, and ultimately decided on which would take priority. Without this process most of us are on the sidelines served by a Behavioral Health Services (BHS) system that is planning and deploying programs and services for us, and not with us. That must change.

In any case, this post illustrates the amount of Unspent Funds from last year, the new amount of funds projected to be distributed by the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) this year, our projected expenditures next fiscal year from July 2023 to June 2024, and the amount of Unspent Funds projected to sit idle.

This isn’t to suggest this is a pot of gold just sitting waiting for people to clamor to spend it down. This amount is the total from multiple MHSA programs areas from community services, to prevention and intervention, to innovation. And ironically, 5% of these funds could be being used for CPP-related processes – including training and meaningfully engaging stakeholders throughout the year.

Finally, if you have any questions about this analysis, or find any issues or incorrect data please do tell!

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