Sacramento County is poised to make a substantial investment in intensive community-based mental health services for Medi-Cal eligible youth. Last week, Sacramento County Executive Navdeep Gill released the County’s 2016-2017 Recommended Budget. The proposed budget adds more than $1.1 million in county funds for the expansion of Katie A. mental health services, an array of individualized services intended to reduce the hospitalization of youth with serious mental health needs. The services include Intensive Care Coordination (ICC) and Intensive Home Based Services (IHBS). With the 50% federal Medicaid match, Sacramento County’s mental health system may have as much as $2.25 million in new funding for meeting the needs of youth with intensive mental health needs.
As previously highlighted on this blog, Katie A. services are included among the comprehensive mental health benefits available under California’s Medi-Cal Specialty Mental Health Program for children and youth. As part of this program, the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) contracts with county mental health departments (Mental Health Plans) to deliver mental health services to eligible Medi-Cal beneficiaries.
Until recently, Katie A. services were only available to child welfare-involved youth. However, earlier this year, DHCS issued an Information Notice recognizing that “a child does not need to have an open child welfare services case to be considered for receipt of
In response to this landmark policy shift by DHCS, a number of county governments are increasing budget allocations for their Specialty Mental Health Programs as a necessary first step towards expanding Katie A. services. Sacramento’s Recommended Budget is the most recent example of proactive county leadership.
According to the budget preview, “Among those newly eligible for [intensive home and community-based] services are the juvenile justice-involved youth for whom these services would provide increased coordination of care, diversion from detention and mental health hospitalizations.” Given that as many as 70% of youth involved in the juvenile justice system may have a diagnosable mental health condition, these young people are among those in greatest need for Katie A. services.
The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors are scheduled to hear the County Executive’s Budget Recommendations tomorrow, Tuesday, June 14th at 2pm.
Sacramento County is leading the way by taking responsible steps to expand Katie A. services. Other County Mental Health Plans should follow Sacramento’s example and take quick action to increase their capacity to deliver Katie A. services.
Counties can do this now by increasing funding for Katie A. services in their budgets for FY 2016-17. Meeting this need will not require budget sacrifices because funds spent by the County will be fully reimbursed from Realignment funds.
Counties need to act now! The lives of thousands of young people with serious mental health needs will be affected–for better or worse–by these pending budgetary decisions.
For more information visit past blogs on this issue and our Fulfilling Medi-Cal’s Promise webpage at: https://www.youngmindsadvocacy.org/fulfilling-medicals-promise/.