KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

California’s Mental Health Care Services Continue To Shrink; Iowa Seeks Reform

While Iowa has hopes of reforming its mental health services, a new study notes real problems in California.

California Healthline: Mental Health Needs High, Treatment Low
About two million Californians are under stress and need some kind of mental health care -- and are not getting the help they need, according to a UCLA study released yesterday. ... Along with a dearth of care for men, immigrants and minority groups, there is a large barrier to care for people without health insurance, [UCLA researcher David] Grant said (Gorn, 12/1). 

Los Angeles Times: Cedars-Sinai To Cut Most Psychiatric Services
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center will close its in-patient and outpatient psychiatry programs over the next year, a move prompted by significant shifts in the healthcare system, hospital officials said. ... The planned closure is the latest in a long series of reductions in mental health services across the state. California has roughly 6,500 acute in-patient psychiatric beds, down from 8,500 in 1996, according to the California Hospital Assn. There have also been significant cutbacks in Medi-Cal funding for mental health services statewide (Gorman, 12/1).

California Healthline: For Mentally Ill, Home Is Where the Health Home Pilot Is
You may have heard of a "medical home" -- an emerging model to provide team-based, patient-centered care, as evidenced by Healthy San Francisco. A health home goes a step further, at least when defined by CMS in Section 2703 of the Affordable Care Act. Specifically, the homes must integrate physical and mental health services, partly by requiring care providers to collaborate with community organizations and in-the-market resources (Diamond, 11/30). 

Des Moines Register: Lawmaker Praises Effort On Mental Health Reform
Past attempts to reform Iowa's mental-health system have stalled, but the current effort stands a strong chance of success, a leading lawmaker said Wednesday. Rep. Renee Schulte, a Cedar Rapids Republican helping lead the effort, said she has been talking for years to people who use the state’s mental-health system or work in it... The current system varies greatly from county to county, she said, which is confusing, inefficient and unfair (Leys, 11/30).

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