Thursday, August 15, 2013

California's Prop 63/Mental Health Services Act Fails Seriously Mentally Ill

In 2004, Californians altruistically passed a 1% tax on millionaires specifically to fund services for people with serious mental illness. As a result of reports that the funds were not reaching people with serious mental illness Mental Illness Policy Org. conducted a study and found many of the complaints to be true. Below is a summary of our report released August 15, 2013. The full report is here Our op-ed in San Diego Union Tribune is here. We shared our concerns with the California State Auditor.

California’s Mental Health Service Act:   A Ten Year $10 Billion Bait and Switch 

An investigation by Mental Illness Policy Org and Individual Californians

August 15, 2013 

In November, 2004 California voters enacted a 1% tax on millionaires (Prop 63) to establish the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) fund solely to help people with serious mental illnesses.[1] $10 billion has been raised since inception. Voters also created a Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission (MHSOAC a/k/a “Oversight Commission”) to see the program stuck to its purpose of helping people with serious mental illness.

Primary Findings

Many people with serious mental illness are receiving critical treatment as a result of Prop 63 but billions are being diverted to other purposes:
  •  $1-2 Billion of Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI) Funds was intentionally diverted to social service programs masquerading as mental illness programs or falsely claim they prevent serious mental illness.
  • ·$2.5 billion of the “Full Service Partnership (FSP) funds were spent without oversight of whether the recipients had schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or the other serious mental illnesses that made them eligible for MHSA funds.
  •  $23 million went to organizations directly associated with Oversight Commissioners.
  • $11 million is going to PR firms that make the Oversight Commissioners look good and hide the failure of MHSA to accomplish its mission
  • $9 million is going to organizations working prevent the seriously ill from receiving treatment until after they become violent.
  • ·Up to $32 million was diverted to TV shows, radio shows, PSAs and other initiatives designed to reach the public without mental illness. Some feature the Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg

Additional Findings