News Articles

Excerpted from Rancho Cordova Independent
April 4, 2016

Assemblyman Ken Cooley’s (D-Rancho Cordova) AB 2279 passed unanimously out of the Assembly Health Committee this week. AB 2279 bolsters transparency about how Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) funds are being used by requiring that information about state-wide and county-by-county funding for mental health programs be made available to the public to enhance accountability, outcomes, and facilitate mental health program improvement.

Proposition 63, the MHSA, was passed by the voters in 2004. Its purpose was to transform the mental health system by providing prevention and intervention services to those living with mental illness.

“According to the Center for Disease Control, one in four American adults suffers from a diagnosable mental disorder. AB 2279 will make it easier for consumers to identify services that best address their needs, provide a platform for counties to better share information and enhance accountability to the public,” said Assemblyman Cooley.

Each county that receives MHSA funds annually reports information to the Department of Health Care Services that accounts for how funds were spent and allows for evaluation of mental health service strategies. Currently, this information is not consistently made publicly available in an easy to understand format, and the information shared is not up-to-date.

Mental health advocates agree that enhancing MHSA transparency is long overdue. “Over the years there have been requests for this type of information to ensure that MHSA funds are being efficiently and effectively utilized. This bill will provide transparency and will help assure the public that the funds are being used as intended,” said Rusty Selix. Mr. Selix represents Mental Health America of California and the California Council of Community Behavioral Health Agencies.

“The lack of timely and accessible reporting does not align with the principles set forth by Proposition 63,” said Anna Hasselblad, Director of Public Policy with the Steinberg Institute. “With no single repository for this information in place, it makes it difficult for law makers, taxpayers, mental health advocates, and consumers to see how MHSA funds are spent county-by-county and state-wide. AB 2279 will go a long way toward improving the way we provide mental health care in California.”