Report 2019-119 Recommendations
When an audit is completed and a report is issued, auditees must provide the State Auditor with information regarding their progress in implementing recommendations from our reports at three intervals from the release of the report: 60 days, six months, and one year. Additionally, Senate Bill 1452 (Chapter 452, Statutes of 2006), requires auditees who have not implemented recommendations after one year, to report to us and to the Legislature why they have not implemented them or to state when they intend to implement them. Below, is a listing of each recommendation the State Auditor made in the report referenced and a link to the most recent response from the auditee addressing their progress in implementing the recommendation and the State Auditor's assessment of auditee's response based on our review of the supporting documentation.
Recommendations in Report 2019-119: Lanterman-Petris-Short Act: California Has Not Ensured That Individuals With Serious Mental Illnesses Receive Adequate Ongoing Care (Release Date: July 2020)
|Recommendations to Legislature|
To ensure that counties are able to access important data about individuals whom they place on involuntary holds under the LPS Act, the Legislature should amend state law to do the following:
Require treatment facilities to report to Health Care Services all short-term holds that result from the grave disability criterion.
Direct Health Care Services to obtain daily the mental health facility information from Justice and make that information, as well as the information that facilities report directly to it, available to county mental health departments for county residents, and for a limited time for nonresidents on an involuntary hold within the county.
To ensure that it is informed about the costs of providing adequate care to individuals treated through the LPS Act, the Legislature should require State Hospitals to report by no later than April 2021 about the cost of expanding its facilities' capacities to reduce and stabilize the LPS waitlist. The report should include a range of options including, but not limited to, reducing the LPS waitlist to limit wait times to within 60 days.
To protect the privacy of individuals who are the subject of conservatorship proceedings, the Legislature should amend state law to explicitly prohibit these proceedings from being open to the public unless the subjects of the proceedings direct otherwise.
To allow counties to provide effective treatment to individuals in the least restrictive setting, the Legislature should amend the criteria for assisted outpatient treatment programs to do the following:
Provide express authority to include medication requirements in court-ordered assisted outpatient treatment plans so long as the medication is self-administered.
Include progressive measures to encourage compliance with assisted outpatient treatment plans, such as additional visits with medical professionals and more frequent appearances before the court.
The Legislature should amend state law to require counties to adopt assisted outpatient treatment programs. However, to ensure the counties' ability to effectively implement such programs, the amended law should allow counties to opt out of adopting assisted outpatient treatment programs by seeking a time-limited waiver from Health Care Services. The Legislature should require a county seeking a waiver to specify what barriers exist to adopting an assisted outpatient treatment program and how the county will attempt to remove those barriers. The Legislature should require Health Care Services to make a final determination as to whether a county will be permitted to opt out of adopting an assisted outpatient treatment program.
To increase the accountability for and effectiveness of the counties' use of mental health funds, the Legislature should amend state law to do the following:
Require the Oversight Commission to develop categories of mental health programs and services, similar to those we present in Figure 11, that are tailored to inform assessments of spending patterns. The Legislature should subsequently require counties to report to the Oversight Commission their expenses in each of these categories as well as their unspent funding from all major funding sources.
Require counties to report to the Oversight Commission, in a format prescribed by the commission, program-and service-level outcomes that enable stakeholders to determine whether counties' use of funds benefits individuals living with mental illnesses.
Direct the Oversight Commission to develop statewide measurements of mental health—such as those we highlight in Figure 11—and report publicly about those measurements annually so that stakeholders and policymakers can assess the progress the State is making in addressing mental health needs.
Require the Oversight Commission to work with counties and other state and local agencies as necessary to use the information it collects to improve mental health in California.
To better serve individuals who are among the most in need of critical, community-based treatment and services, the Legislature should amend state law to do the following:
Establish a goal in the MHSA of connecting all such individuals to the community-based programs and services that they would benefit from—such as assisted outpatient treatment—and require counties to fund efforts to link these individuals to those programs and services. The Legislature should also establish that a goal of providing those programs and services is to reduce the number of repeated involuntary holds or conservatorships that occur.
Specify that counties can use any portion of their MHSA funds for this purpose as long as they comply with other statutory and regulatory requirements.
If Health Care Services does not follow through with its plan to provide, on its website, information about each county's unspent MHSA funds, the Legislature should amend state law to explicitly require counties to include information about their balances of unspent MHSA funds in their MHSA annual revenue and expenditure reports.
|Recommendations to Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health|
To ensure that it connects patients who have been placed on multiple short-term holds to appropriate ongoing treatment, Los Angeles should, by no later than August 2021, adopt a systematic approach to identifying such individuals, obtaining available mental health history information about these individuals, and connecting these individuals to services that support their ongoing mental health.
To ensure that conservatorships do not terminate because of the absence of testimony from doctors, Los Angeles should immediately implement a comprehensive solution to this problem, such as using its own staff as expert witnesses when individuals' treating physicians are unable to testify. In addition, by no later than August 2021, it should develop a revised approach to scheduling conservatorship hearings and trials so that it significantly reduces the rate at which doctors' failures to testify result in terminated conservatorships.
|Recommendations to San Francisco Department of Public Health|
To evaluate and address shortages in the capacity of its treatment facilities, San Francisco should, by August 2021, conduct an assessment that determines the number and type of treatment beds that it needs to provide adequate care for individuals who require involuntary treatment. Once the county completes the assessment, it should adopt plans to develop the needed capacity.
To ensure that it connects patients who have been placed on multiple short-term holds to appropriate ongoing treatment, San Francisco should, by no later than August 2021, adopt a systematic approach to identifying such individuals, obtaining available mental health history information about these individuals, and connecting these individuals to services that support their ongoing mental health.
|Recommendations to Shasta County Health and Human Services Agency|
To evaluate and address shortages in the capacity of its treatment facilities, Shasta should, by August 2021, conduct an assessment that determines the number and type of treatment beds that it needs to provide adequate care for individuals who require involuntary treatment. Once the county completes the assessment, it should adopt plans to develop the needed capacity.