Ventura County Behavioral Health’s  Annual Update and 3-Year Plan for 2023-2024

by Carol Leish, MA

A Mid-Year Adjustment was completed for the current 3-year plan for the Mental Health Services Act. The plan outlines what Ventura County Behavioral Health plans to spend its Mental Health Services Act dollars on from 2023-2026. The mid-year adjustment was needed after a onetime payment was received from the state in August of 2023. To make these updates in partnership with stakeholders, a community program planning process (CPPP) was convened in October, 2023. Areas covered included: 1) What is happening now? & 2) What is the onetime adjustment of money? Focusing on what Proposition 1 will cover, if passed next year, is also an integral part of the component to enhance the programs within the Ventura County Behavioral Health Care system.

The 3-year plan for the county outlines the department’s needs, goals, and program plans, along with the expenditures for 2023-2026. The 2023-2026 Plan was finalized in June, 2023. Also happening this year has been a one-time allocation of money that was received in August 2023. The midyear adjustment process needed to include use of the one-time funds of $30 million dollars within the 3-year plan.

The mid-year adjustment process has included: 1) Building upon the current 3-year plan within the community planning process.; along with, 2) Presentation of changes to the plan. This has included: 1) Community feedback; and, 2) A public hearing for input from the public. Then, the Ventura County Board of Supervisors will need to approve the plan.

Proposition 1-SB236 will be on the March 2024 ballot, along with the bond measure contained within AB531. The proposition will repurpose the use of funding and enable the establishment of a new 30% housing component with a housing first requirement. It will also establish the Behavioral Health Services Act as a new source of funding for the substance use disorder (SUD) services, along with creating a new and comprehensive source of planning, data gathering and reporting. This will overhaul the adult and children’s system of care statutes. In anticipation of the proposition, Ventura County Behavioral Health has included some money to prepare for the transition.

The top categories of solutions from the last needs assessment for the one-time funding of over 30 million dollars, fall into different categories: 1) Housing; 2) Expansion of services and treatment types; 3) Access; 4) Outreach and education; and, 5) Alternative to Ventura County Behavioral Health. High priorities for large dollar adjustment infrastructure include: 1) Building a mental health rehabilitation center with 120 beds; and, 2) Providing residential care for the elderly with 60 beds.

Other highlights for the large dollar adjustment include focusing on high intensity outpatient programs categorized as Full-Service Partnership programs and include: 1) Transitional age youth programs for 18–25-year-olds; 2) Having integrative community services (EPICS) program for adults ages 18-60 years old; and, 3) Having an older adults’ program for those 60+ years old. Additional goals include: 1) Staffing for short-term treatment teams; and, 2) Improved (timelier and clinically appropriate), access which will require additional staffing; 3) Increasing the amount planned for keeping or establishing board and care units, and, 4) Increasing the contracted-out salary related (COSR) Accounts.

Additional priorities include: 1) Increasing the amount planned for keeping or establishing board and care units; and, 2) Expanding upon the number of permanent supportive units, along with adding to the housing staff, which is also important.

Updates to this plan will be made yearly through additional community program planning process meetings and the Annual Update report published each spring.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email