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California's Department of Mental Health Transition to the New Department of State Hospitals

As of July 1, 2012, the California Department of Mental Health became the new Department of State Hospitals. The new department will focus on the care of patients in its seven forensic state hospitals.

As part of the Governor’s goal to give more local control to community mental health functions, many of those programs formerly under the purview of Department of Mental Health are being transitioned to other state departments and the counties. For a full listing of where the community mental health functions have been placed, see the “Reorganization of Department of Mental Health Functions" chart under the Reorganization of Community Mental Health section on this page.

Transition Plan

New DMH Structure to Enhance Treatment, Safety and Fiscal Management

On December 7, 2011, the California Department of Mental Health announced the blueprint to establish the new Department of State Hospitals and reforms to the DMH structure designed to improve the mental hospital system in California.

“We are making the changes that are long overdue,” said DMH Acting-Director, Cliff Allenby. “Earlier this year, we brought in a team of experts who worked closely with administrative, clinical, and operations staff to develop an action plan to enhance care, increase safety measures, and improve the fiscal management of our state mental hospitals.”

Click here for the full press release

Transition Plan Documents

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Reorganization of Community Mental Health Functions

As Community Mental Health programs are moved toward greater local control and oversight by other State departments, the Department of Mental Health will post updates and relevant information relating to this transition on this page.

REORGANIZATION OF
DEPARTMENT OF MENTAL HEALTH FUNCTIONS

This chart, Reorganization of Department of Mental Health Functions, outlines the proposed future placement of Department of Mental Health functions, programs, funding, and positions.

LEGISLATION

Chaptered Legislation

AB 100 (Committee on Budget, Chapter 5, Statutes of 2011) - provided a one-time redirection of Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) funds to counties to support the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment, Medi-Cal Specialty Mental Health Managed Care, and AB 3632 special education programs for Fiscal Year 2011-12.  The bill also changed the roles of the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission and DMH relative to the requirements of the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA), modified the requirements for the counties to provide annual updates to their Three-Year MHSA plans, and changed the responsibility for the administration of the Mental Health Services Fund.

AB 102 (Committee on Budget, Chapter 29, Statutes of 2011) - began the process of transferring the Medi-Cal Specialty Mental Health Managed Care program, the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment program, and all applicable functions relating to DMH’s portion of the Medi-Cal program, from DMH to the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), effective July 1, 2012. 

AB 1467(Committee on Budget, Chapter 23, Statutes of 2012) – omnibus Health trailer bill that transfers certain community mental health programs, including Caregiver Resource Centers, and remaining components of the MHSA, from DMH to DHCS, effective July 1, 2012.
AB 1470(Committee on Budget, Chapter 24, Statutes of 2012) – trailer bill that creates the Department of State Hospitals (DSH), and eliminated DMH.  This bill also authorizes DSH to expand competency restoration programs for criminal defendants found Incompetent to Stand Trial into county jails, specifies that all DMH regulations pertaining to State Hospitals are enforceable by DSH, and states the intent of the Legislature that staff-to-patient ratios address adequate patient and staff safety.
SB 1009(Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review, Chapter 34, Statutes of 2012) – mental health realignment trailer bill that completes the reorganization of mental health services in California, including transferring specified licensing functions from DMH to the Department of Social Services, and remaining community mental health functions from DMH to DHCS, effective July 1, 2012.