Budget News, Information and Links
"The Civil Rights Movement of this decade is Mental Health Care quality and equality."
-- Updated January 12, 2006 --

      The Mission of This Page.

    The mission of this page is to keep you updated on the latest news, commentary, and legislative agendas and organizational responses to budget matters that impact publicly-funded mental health care and substance abuse treatment.

    Although we will do our best to keep you updated and to provide you with the latest news and commentary, we cannot guarantee that this page will always link you to the latest information.

    To find the very latest news about Washington State, King County, Seattle City, and the United States Budget, we recommend that you go to the Google News Search Engine page and type into the search box words such as "Washington State budget," "King County budget" or a similar search phrase. You will get a comprehensive list of the most current articles from a large number of publications.

    Please note that the Seattle Times newspaper now requires you to register to view archived material. It does not take much time, and it is worth the effort.

      Washington State Legislative Session Ended March 8, 2006.

      The 2006 Federal Budget -- Public Mental Health Care.

    Medicaid is now the dominant source of funding for treatment and support services for both children and adults living with severe mental illness - currently, Medicaid comprises 50% of overall public mental health spending, a figure that is expected to rise to 60% by 2010. That makes all issues related to Medicaid budgets important for the future of public mental health care. Check the following links for more information and for ways to get involved in supporting better legislation.

      Short-Term Gain can Often Mean Long-Term Pain.

    It is well-documented by many studies that for every per-capita dollar cut from mental health care and substance abuse funding adverse consequences occur resulting in much greater costs to our communities:

    • Increased Use of Expensive Resources
        Lack of appropriate outpatient services leads to expensive, repeat emergency room care and expensive housing and treatment in hospital and and prison settings.

    • Increased Relapse and Recidivism
        Lack of appropriate support services and continuity of care leads to excessive relapses. Subsequent mental illness relapses are progressively more expensive and difficult to treat and recover from.

    • Increased Ethical Problems
        Lack of continuity of care brought about by budget cuts can be experienced as an "abandonment" by patients. The same strict ethical principles that prohibit "abandonment" of patients by physicians should apply to legislative and budget decision-makers.

    • Reduced Community Morale
        "Civilization" takes a big hit when care is so compromised that disabled mentally ill persons are forced into surviving on the streets of our cities.

    • Increased Mental Illness Stigma
        When substandard care is offered to mentally ill persons, the community learns that mentally ill people do not seem to get better. It is a classic self-fulfilling prophecy.

      Please check Philip Dawdy's excellent Seattle Weekly articles:

      Please check Lynne Varner's excellent column in which she states "It's time to acknowledge how a crueler, less-humanistic society is directly linked to our unwillingness to pay the true costs of a productive, compassionate society" -- Seattle Times Opinion dated January 7, 2003: Losing the blinders, feeling the pain.

      Washington State Budget Information Pages.

      Washington State Income Tax?

      Thank You for Stopping By!

        - Best wishes, Ron Sterling M.D. (Seattle, Washington, USA)

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