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FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
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Transparency sought for state health funds

By
From page A10 | February 26, 2014 |

Dan-Logue-mug-color:bw

Dan Logue

FAIRFIELD — State Assemblyman Dan Logue has introduced legislation that he says will bring transparency and accountability to county mental health services through Proposition 63, the Mental Health Services Act after an audit showed funds were spent for nature hikes and Zumba classes.

Logue, R-Loma Rica,  and other state lawmakers requested an audit in 2012 to look at how Mental Health Services Act funds from Proposition 63 were spent in counties. The state auditor found that none of the agencies responsible for oversight of Proposition 63 had “undertaken serious efforts” to evaluate the effectiveness of mental health programs receiving the funding, Logue said. Whether or not the programs are actually working can’t be measured, the state assemblyman said.

The new legislation would require counties that receive funding through the mental health services fund to report baseline measure for their programs.

“Proposition 63 was approved by the voters because there was a problem that needed to be addressed,” Logue said in a press release. “Last year, the state auditor released a report that showed us the funds from Proposition 63 are not addressing that problem.  There are people out there who need serious treatment for mental health issues, and if the taxpayers are paying for that treatment, we should see results.”

Proposition 63, approved by voters in 2004, placed a 1 percent  income tax on personal incomes over $1 million.

Logue represents the 3rd Assembly District in the California Legislature that includes Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Sutter, Tehama and Yuba counties. He is running against Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, in the 3rd Congressional District.

Halsey Simmons, mental health director for Solano County, said the state audit involved several large counties in California and did not include Solano. No so-called fringe programs were funded in Solano County, the director said.

The county is looking at local mental health programs as well as collecting and analyzing data, he said.

A lot of energy is put into assuring “that we have outcomes that can demonstrate that they’re working,” Simmons said.

Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or [email protected]

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