Solano Mental Health, Family Health face cuts if revenue flows unchanged

KeepHealthCare.ORG – Solano Mental Health, Family Health face cuts if revenue flows unchanged

Gerald Huber

FAIRFIELD — Mental Health and Family Health services could be cut back in Solano County unless the current revenue flows – primarily from the state and federal agencies – change in the next couple of years.

The Family Health Services budget is already showing red ink with a $1.3 million deficit in the current fiscal year, and a projected shortfall of nearly $3.12 million in 2018-19.

Those annual losses increase each year through the 2021-22 fiscal year, when the projected loss is $5.5 million, according to the five-year forecast document, which also addressed Mental Health and Public Health and other medical services.

Gerald Huber, the director of the county’s Department of Health and Social Services, called the projections “painful,” but said the first ever five-year forecasts presented Tuesday to the Board of Supervisors are a “proactive” way to address the issue.

At the center of the dilemma is the change in how In-Home Support Services are funded by the state, as well as shifts in 1991 and 2011 realignment funds toward Social Services.

As more revenue sources are shifted to Social Services, in part to pay for In-Home Support Services costs, other programs will receive less.

“We are not done. We have not operationalized this,” said Huber, who explained that the real challenge is figuring out what to do next.

The message is also found in the 2018-19 recommended budget the board takes up Tuesday.

“New mandates without new funding and the redirection of 1991 Realignment growth funding beginning in (fiscal year) 2017-18 create an unsustainable budget for Mental Health in future years, which will require service reductions, additional funding, or a combination of both,” the summary states.

Social Services deleted 24 full-time equivalent positions in the 2017-18 fiscal year and 3.5 full-time equivalent positions in the recommended budget to cover revenue shortfalls and may require additional program reductions during the upcoming year, according to the summary. Obligations for both In-Home Support Services and Social Services programs are expected to increase county general fund requirements in the 2018-19 fiscal year, the summary states.

Huber, Tess Lapira, director of Administrative Services at Health and Social Services, and Debbie Vaughn, a management analyst in the Administrator’s Office, made the presentation.

The forecast shows Mental Health will start seeing a $1.02 million shortfall of revenues to expenditures in the 2019-20 fiscal year. That annual deficit increases to $5.34 million in 2020-21 and to $10.51 million the next year.

The forecast shows the county’s general fund contribution to Mental Health stays at nearly $5.86 million through the 2021-22 fiscal year. However, because some services are mandated, pressure on additional general fund dollars is rising.

The five-year Public Health and Medical Services forecast shows a balance between revenues and expenditures with no shortfalls or surpluses through 2021-22, the county document states.

Members of the Board of Supervisors also were told that the Health Division is also trying to find ways to increase use at the county clinics, which in turn would increase reimbursements.

Supervisor Skip Thomson had left the meeting early and was not there for the presentation. No board action was taken.

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Source: https://www.dailyrepublic.com/all-dr-news/solano-news/fairfield/solano-mental-health-family-health-face-cuts-if-revenue-flows-unchanged/

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