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Georgia DBHDD Hires Consultant To Improve Mental Health System, Avoid Federal Takeover
Stemming from U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation of Georgia’s mental hospitals, the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) hired an independent consultant to help improve the state’s mental health system and avoid a costly Federal takeover. DBHDD will pay Dr. Nirbhay Singh and his associates up to $3.5 million for 1 year of consulting and training services beginning October 2009. DBHDD also retains the option to extend Dr. Singh’s contract for several years. The DOJ has already requested an independent overseer for the state’s mental health services.
Update: Tennessee DMHDD Faces $9.4 Million in Cuts
As a result of Governor Phil Bredesen’s (D) proposed budget, the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities (DMHDD) is facing a $9.4 million budget cut. The governor’s proposed Medicaid cuts compound direct DMHDD funding reductions, though DMHDD officials note that it is difficult to project the effects of the Medicaid cuts until the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services officially approves the changes. Under the proposed budget, DMHDD will preserve $21.5 million to fund the Behavioral Health Safety Net, which provides mental health services to severely mentally ill residents who do not qualify for TennCare, the state’s Medicaid program.
New Mexico House Rejects Bill Allowing Judges To Sentence Drug Offenders to Treatment
On February 12, the New Mexico House rejected the Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act (HB 178) that would have allowed judges to sentence drug-involved offenders to substance abuse treatment rather than jail. Under the rejected bill, the offender would pay for treatment and the state could pursue charges if the offender failed to complete treatment. Proponents of the bill argue that it would have saved New Mexico $22 million annually.
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