We talked on March 15 about the accumulated cuts of $55 million to mental health services in Massachusetts since 2009, more than any other New England state. Yesterday, I tried to verify on-line how much Massachusetts spends per capita on mental health, compared to the other New England states. Recent facts were scarce, but the SMHA (State Mental Health Agency) expenditures per capita for 2009 showed this info:
New Hampshire: $138.17
Rhode Island $107.19
If our state has reduced its Mental Health budget for services more than any other New England state, given these numbers, we’re in pretty bad shape.
I am skeptical of these numbers.
Interstate comparisons are difficult to make. It seems very unlikely that Maine is spending three times what we are spending.
If you want to delve into it, we can ask DMH to help assess the comparison.
DMH providing some clarity would be helpful. Why are we thinking about closing publicly subsidized mental health beds, such as those in Taunton Hospital? I have a lot of questions related to our efforts to be more efficient and the resulting loss of services to those in need.
We should be back to you shortly on this.
A partial response: The statistic for Massachusetts seems roughly right. The DMH budget is $665 million under the Governor’s proposal — a little over $100 per resident in MA.
So then the question becomes: What are the other state’s including that pushes up their numbers?
We’ll pursue further.
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