Bill Making Mental Health Funds More Flexible Clears Committee with Bipartisan Support
Senate Bill 1273 Grants Greater Flexibility in Use of Mental Health Services Act Funds
(Sacramento) – Yesterday, the Senate Health Committee approved legislation
by Senator Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) – Senate Bill 1273 – that
gives county personnel greater flexibility over the use of Mental Health
Services Act funds for outpatient crdisis stabilization services. The
bill is co-authored by Senator Robert Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys), Senator
Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield) and other legislators.
"With SB 1273, we have a chance to provide another tool in the toolbox
for counties on how they can approach the mental health crisis we are
facing," Moorlach said. "Our police departments, often the first
responders to people in mental health crisis, will have additional options
on how to handle each patient. And, our emergency rooms will be less over-burdened."
At present, Orange County only has ten beds for emergency mental health
crisis situations with its 3.1 million residents. This simple clarification
in state law provides not only Orange County, but other counties, the
flexibility to better fund outpatient care, as well as help ensure that
patients in mental crisis can receive prompt, therapeutic care at proper
facilities, rather than the hospital emergency room.
"I am honored to have so many health care providers in support, as
well as the endorsement of former Senator Darrell Steinberg – the
author of Proposition 63, the Mental Health Services Act and founder of
the Steinberg Institute, as he understands the necessity," Moorlach said.
SB 1273, which received strong bipartisan support, goes next to the Senate
Floor. The bill is supported by the Steinberg Institute, County Behavioral
Health Directors Association of California, California Psychiatric Association,
American College of Emergency Physicians-California Chapter, California
Emergency Nurses Association, St. Joseph Hoag Health System, St. Joseph
Hospital, Hoag Memorial Presbyterian, St. Jude Medical Center, Tenet Health,
Orange County Medical Association, California State Association of Counties,
Urban Counties of California, County of Orange, City of Newport Beach,
League of California Cities-Orange County, California State Sheriff’s
Association, Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Orange County Police
Chiefs and Sheriffs Association and others.
For more information on SB 1273,