3/26 Mental Health Board Finance Committee Meeting and Opportunity for Public Input

Planning is already underway for the 2016 Milwaukee County BHD budget. Because of the establishment of the new Mental Health Board, this process occurs earlier and in a different manner than the overall Milwaukee County budget and the opportunities for public input are much more limited than with the overall county budget. The first opportunity for public input will be this week – 3/26 at the Mental Health Board Finance Committee meeting.,

It’s our understanding that the Mental Health Board will be providing two opportunities for public input on the 2016 Milwaukee County Budget.

The Board Chair and the Finance Subcommittee Chair have resolved that public comment on the 2016 budget will be held at the Finance Subcommittee meeting this Thursday, March 26, 2015, 9am-about 12pm at the Mental Health Complex Auditorium. The time period for comment will be at the end of that agenda. Speakers will be limited to three minutes each. The meeting agenda is attached and here is a link to Mental Health Board web site where you may also view and download the meeting packet: http://county.milwaukee.gov/BehavioralHealthDivi7762/Mental-Health-Board.htm

The meeting notice does not provide any directions for submitting written comments to the Finance Committee. If you are not able to attend the meeting and want to submit written comments, we suggest that you contact the BHD staff for the committee as listed on the agenda (Jodi Mapp, 257–5202) for guidance.

There will be a second opportunity for the Board to receive public comment about the draft budget at a later time – we are not sure of the date.

Unfortunately, there is still no mechanism for members of the public to receive notice of these meetings, as is available with for other city, county, and state meetings. We can only suggest that you regularly monitor the Mental Health Board site and encourage board members to establish the needed infrastructure so that members of the public can sign up to receive meeting notices.

Focus of the 3/26 Public Comment Period

We encourage you to attend the 3/26 Finance Committee meeting and to sign up to provide public comment. This is an opportunity to share with the Mental Health Board Finance Committee your frontline perspective regarding the 2016 Milwaukee County Budget – a chance to recognize the success of current programs and services as well as identifying gaps and barriers that must be addressed in the budget if we are to move forward with the goals we all share: improve access to quality recovery oriented, community based services, advance improvements in the safety and quality of inpatient services, and reduce overreliance on traumatizing crisis, inpatient and institutional care.

Based on discussion at both the Steering Committee and the full Task Force, there continue to be significant concerns about the limited access to community mental health and substance use services and supports, including continued waiting lists for case management services, and that the expansions to date, while very positive, are on a small scale and have just begun to address the tremendous unmet need in the community where the vast majority of people with mental health needs live. There are also concerns that reductions in access to inpatient services as well as the lack of access to community services have resulted in more people experiencing a mental health crisis ending up in jail.

Attached for your reference is the a document from last year – the Mental Health Task Force Testimony on the 2015 Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division Requested Budget.

Also by way of background, these are the duties of the Mental Health Board as defined in Act 203:

(1s) DUTIES OF THE BOARD. The Milwaukee County mental health board shall do all of the following:

(a) Oversee the provision of mental health programs and services in Milwaukee County.
(b) Allocate moneys for mental health functions, programs, and services in Milwaukee County within the mental health budget as defined in sub. (4) (a) 2.
© Make the final determination on mental health policy in Milwaukee County.
(d) Replace the Milwaukee County board of supervisors in all mental health functions that are typically performed by a county board of supervisors.
(e) Facilitate delivery of mental health services in an efficient and effective manner by making a commitment to all of the following:
1. Community−based, person−centered, recovery−oriented, mental health systems.
2. Maximizing comprehensive community−based services.
3. Prioritizing access to community−based services and reducing reliance on institutional and inpatient care.
4. Protecting the personal liberty of individuals experiencing mental illness so that they may be treated in the least restrictive environment to the greatest extent possible.
5. Providing early intervention to minimize the length and depth of psychotic and other mental health episodes.
6. Diverting people experiencing mental illness from the corrections system when appropriate.
7. Maximizing use of mobile crisis units and crisis intervention training.
(f) Attempt to achieve costs savings in the provision of mental health programs and services in Milwaukee County.
(g) Cooperate and consult with the department on recommendations for and establishing policy for inpatient mental health treatment facilities and related programs in Milwaukee County.

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Last edited by Tyler Schuster.   Page last modified on March 22, 2015

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