Q&AZ: How Much Money Is Allocated For Public Mental Health Services In Arizona?
Public spending on mental health in Arizona has increased almost $1 billion in the last five years. A KJZZ listener wanted to know how those funds are being spent and asked via Q&AZ.
Ninety-one percent of the $2.34 billion spent by the yhe Arizona Health Care Cost Containment system in fiscal year 2017 went to programs connected to Medicaid and KidsCare, the state’s health insurance program for low-income children.
“If you want to compare to other states, Arizona has a fairly generous array of public benefits,” said Emily Jenkins, president and CEO of the Arizona Council of Human Service Providers.
However Jenkins said Arizona, like the rest of the country, is suffering from a lack of mental health professionals. This can lead to high costs and long wait times for those on public and private health insurance.
“Parity, which means that you cover both physical and behavioral health the same way has not been honored in Arizona,” she said. “We hear from people who have a very difficult time getting benefits from their private insurance and the benefits are limited.”
The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment system also receives independent grant funding to provide therapy, medication and other services to uninsured and under-insured Arizonans.