Senator Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh (R-Yucaipa) announced today that the Senate Health Committee approved in a unanimous bipartisan vote Senate Bill 1298. SB 1298 will continuously appropriate at least $1 billion annually to help counties to continue building out essential mental health bed capacity across the entire spectrum of need.
"Issues resulting from our lack of investment in addressing mental health issues have been on the rise across our communities," said Senator Ochoa Bogh. "There is no doubt we can do more to help. This bill will make a real tangible ongoing investment toward addressing the severe lack of mental health treatment capacity, which has been woefully inadequate for decades. This bill creates a reliable source of funding for counties. The lack of mental health treatment capacity is a continuous need that must be addressed in an ongoing manner."
SB 1298 will appropriate at least $1 billion from the General Fund annually to help build vital county mental health bed capacity across the state to close the mental health bed and workforce deficit fully.
California faces a behavioral health continuum infrastructure deficit. According to the California Department of Health Care Services, inpatient psychiatric bed capacity in California is 21 beds per 100,000 people, whereas the estimated need is 50 beds per 100,000 people. In a 2017 study cited by the Department of Health Care Services, California had among the country's lowest inpatient psychiatric bed capacity. Almost half of the counties had no adult acute psychiatric beds, and the vast majority had no psychiatric beds for children as of 2015. Only about 2,600 sub-acute mental health treatment beds are licensed in California. The number of Substance Use Disorder (SUD) treatment facilities has decreased by 13 percent over the last three years.
SB 1298 is a crucial investment needed to help our most vulnerable and one that will have a positive ripple effect and impact within our communities.
SB 1298 and SB 1472 are part of "ACT on Homelessness (Accountability, Compassion, and Treatment)," a comprehensive legislative package recently introduced by Senate and Assembly Republicans.