Better Mental Health Care Predicted for Healthy Families Kids with Serious Needs

Santa Cruz County mental health staff and patient advocates in California predict that many children enrolled in the state’s Healthy Families Program, an insurance program for low-income families that will be phased out in 2013, should actually have better access to mental health services once they start transitioning to Medi-Cal in January.

This summer the state legislature approved Governor Jerry Brown’s plan to cut the Healthy Families Program, saving the state $129 million in the next two years and $71 million annually after that. Healthy Families enrolls families whose incomes are low, but not low enough to qualify for Medi-Cal, as Medicaid is known in California. Many fear that with this transition to Medi-Cal, former Healthy Families enrollees will have difficulty finding health providers, since Medi-Cal pays providers less.

Many county health departments in California, however, welcome the state’s 2011 decision to give their departments responsibility for managing the money that will help them provide the specific mental health services needed locally.

View full article here…