Mental-health-care switch

State set to integrate mental health into overall health-care benefits

California will shift Medi-Cal mental-health benefits away from the Department of Mental Health (DMH) and to the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) by July 1.

The move is an effort to ensure mental-health care and substance-abuse treatment are not segmented benefits and are integrated as part of people’s overall health-care package, according to California Healthline. Proponents of the organizational switch maintain it will benefit patients tremendously, as mental and behavioral health will be on equal footing with other overall health-care measures. Detractors predict the quality of care will be disrupted by the transition.

“Mental health will keep a high profile, because the DHCS director will have a deputy director representing both alcohol and drug abuse and mental and behavioral health,” said Cliff Allenby, acting director of DMH.