KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Jails Are Holding Increasing Numbers Of Mentally Ill

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that in Georgia more mentally ill people are locked away than are treated in state psychiatric hospitals. In other state news about mental health, Florida seeks to recoup $4 million from company that managed Medicaid mental health services, and Milwaukee considers bolstering services.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Mentally Ill Languish In Local Jails
Detention Officer Terroyanne Harris considers the inmates she oversees on 3 North as much patient as prisoner. They suffer from schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress and other mental illnesses. Some walk aimlessly around their cell block. Some are lost in hallucinations…. Jails have become the new asylums. In Georgia, more mentally ill people are locked away than are treated in all the state psychiatric hospitals combined. And it's costing county taxpayers millions (Visser, 9/29).

News Service of Florida/Sunshine State News: Mental-Health Firm, State Battle Over $4 Million
Contending that not enough money was spent on patient care, the state Agency for Health Care Administration is trying to recoup $4 million from a firm that manages Medicaid mental-health services (Saunders, 9/28).

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Proposed Milwaukee County Mental Health Funding Up
Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele's 2012 budget includes a $3 million increase to bolster community mental health care and lay the groundwork for a future downsizing of the Mental Health Complex. Abele said Wednesday that about $1.4 million will go toward subsidizing one or two new 16-bed Crisis Resource Centers on the north side of town that would be privately operated and modeled after an existing center on the south side. The centers provide short-term care to stabilize someone at a cost that's a fraction of what emergency care at the complex costs (Schultze, 9/28).

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