The government panel charged with managing California’s Victim Compensation Program has approved drastic changes to the state’s reimbursements rates. After years of declining revenues and increased expenditures, the three-member Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board voted unanimously to reduce reimbursements for mental health services provided by interns by 25 percent and to make Additional Treatment Plans (ATPs) more restrictive. The Board decided to postpone action until March on two other items. The two postponed recommendations would have reduced California’s Victim Compensation Program’s (CalVCP) medical reimbursement rate to the Medicare rates, a reduction of 20 percent for restorative plastic surgery, prosthetics, hear aids, eyeglasses, and foreign providers, and lastly an 10 percent reduction in Mental Health reimbursements. The Board’s analysis projects these reductions would prevent the State Restitution Fund from having a 2011-2012 end-year deficit of $20 million.
A brief history of how the State Restitution Fund got to this point. Over the last several years, the Governor and the Legislature have used the Fund’s previous surplus (over $100 million) to support anti-gang activities (CALGRIP) and take $80 million reserved for victims to help close the General Fund deficit. Also affecting the fund’s long-term balance were ballooning administrative costs that consisted of as much as 30 percent of the Fund and reduced collections at the local level, coupled with increased expenditures related to rising healthcare costs. All these factors amounted to a perfect storm for insolvency. In addition to this unfortunate reality, the Legislature has yet to enact revenue increasing reforms that would assist in mitigating some of the above mentioned cuts.
Statement from CALCASA Executive Director Sandra Henriquez:

We strongly disagreed with these cuts and informed the Board of the negative affects they will have to the accessibility to quality care for survivors of sexual violence. Mental health services are essential for survivors in the aftermath of a sexual assault and may be the only thing that allows a victim to move on from their experiences. The California Coalition Against Sexual Assault will continue to work with Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board and the Legislature to prevent further cuts and increase restitution collections.

CALCASA stood together with the California Victim’s Action Alliance, the iCan Foundation, the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence, and medical and mental health providers to oppose these reductions.
How will these reductions affect you or the services provided by your agency? Let us know in the comments below by January 30th.