Mental health agencies face budget pressure to work together more efficiently

By Bill Barrow

Mental Health Faces Budget CrisisAfter emerging from a private meeting with about two dozen behavioral health care authorities around the region, the city’s top physician said Tuesday that the disparate system has little choice but to improve communication and efficiencies in response to announced cuts in inpatient and emergency services now provided by Louisiana State University’s New Orleans hospital. “There is plenty we can do,” New Orleans Health Commissioner Dr. Karen DeSalvo said.

But she conceded that whatever improvements are made among a web of service providers — public and private hospitals, specialty inpatient facilities, the state-run Metropolitan Human Services District, independent chemical detox facilities, community-based case management teams for patients with psychotic disorders, law enforcement agencies and the judicial system, temporary housing programs — it almost certainly will have to be done with less money.

“Government is going to get smaller,” DeSalvo said. “We don’t want to do less. … But these cuts will have in impact.”

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Will Savage

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