Mental health services provided under Proposition 63 dramatically improve the quality of life for many of the enrolled 27,000 Californians while returning significant taxpayer savings, according to a new study headed by Social Welfare Department chair Todd Franke. The evaluation report found that every dollar spent on mental health services in California saved roughly $0.88 in public costs to the criminal justice, health, and housing services by reducing the number of arrests, incarcerations, and hospitalizations.
Proposition 63, the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) was passed by voters in 2004. The MHSA’s lynchpin program, the Full Service Partnership (FSP) serves Californians experiencing the most severe mental health challenges.
The report found across-the-board reductions of mental health patients in California’s health and justice systems during the 12 months after their enrollment in Proposition 63’s FSP programs, when compared with their experiences in the 12 months prior to enrollment. Highlights include:
Overall, the FSP program off-set $54.6 million in potential psychiatric care costs and $26.7 million in the criminal justice system in FY 09-10 from reduced incarcerations and arrests.
By 2010, there were 27,468 Californians enrolled in Proposition 63’s Full Service Partnership program according to the report. Proposition 63 contributed $0.62 for every dollar spent on mental health services in California in 2009-10, with the remainder supported by the Federal Government ($0.30), the state’s General Fund ($0.05), and Medicare contributions ($0.03). $63.24 million of total $102 million in FY 09-10 expenditures on new FSP enrollees came from Proposition 63 revenue, resulting in total cost-offsetting of $89.74 million for new enrollees.
Proposition 63 established the Mental Health Services Act through a one-percent income tax on those whose annual income is one million dollars or more. The proposition specified that this funding must supplement, not replace, the funding for traditional mental health services. The proposition also specified that a portion of the funding (25 percent) must go toward prevention, early intervention and innovation to treat mental illness in its early stages and to provide outreach and services to those ethnic and cultural groups which historically have been underserved.
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