KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Ga., Texas Expand Mental Health Services; Some Say More Is Needed

Georgia has opened new facilities for the mentally ill under an agreement with the U.S. Justice Department. Meanwhile, Texas increased mental health spending by 4.3 percent in the past 3 years, but critics say that spending is not keeping pace with the growing uninsured population.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Advocates: State's Mental Health System Improving, But Gaps Exist 
Georgia has been rapidly rolling out community services for the mentally ill and developmentally disabled this year, but advocates say much work is left to do to help children with behavioral challenges and to foster better coordination of care among medical doctors and mental health specialists for all patients. The state has opened new crisis stabilization units, peer support centers and other services to help mentally ill adults live productive lives — the result of a five-year agreement between the state and the U.S. Department of Justice (Williams, 11/11).

The Texas Tribune: Study: Texas Ranks Last in Mental Health Spending
Texas still ranks last in per capita funding for people with mental illness, according to a report issued by the National Alliance of Mental Illness. The report showed Texas increased its spending by 4.3 percent over the last three years — the 2012 budget is $964.1 million. But NAMI Texas Executive Director Robin Peyson said that's not enough. ... Peyson said the state has the largest uninsured population, one that's only growing (Cardona, 11/10).

A survey in Colorado also notes difficulties in funding —

Health Policy Solutions (a Colorado news service): Costs Slow Integrated Physical, Mental Health Care
Preliminary results from a survey of 56 clinics around Colorado found that 70 percent of those surveyed had "no source of revenue" to cover costs of the services they were trying to provide. ... The needs are profound among patients who are coping with behavioral health woes that often lead to physical problems or the reverse: medical problems that spawn depression and other behavioral problems (Kerwin McCrimmons, 11/9).

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.