California’s public mental health system is unique in that counties serve Medi-Cal, uninsured, and commercially insured individuals. However, we had concerns with how our responsibilities and the availability in certain services was represented in your piece.
County mental health plans do provide a consistent set of specialty mental health services for the seriously mentally ill in Medi-Cal. Much of the concern about disparate or inconsistently available services stems from individuals and families with private insurance, as reflected in the experiences of the families you profiled.
County mental health would welcome the opportunity to serve all Californians, regardless of payer, with a consistent set of services, including the emerging early psychosis programs throughout the state, but that is not reflected in our existing mandate or funding. With the right statewide investments and leadership, we could.
Counties have nonetheless invested in training and developed early psychosis programs because we know it’s the right thing to do.
Michelle Doty Cabrera, executive director of County Behavioral Health Directors Association of California, Sacramento