By JUSTIN STORY
SANFORD – State-funded mental health facilities face a $28 million budget shortfall for the next fiscal year, and officials say the reduced budget could have a debilitating effect on mental health services in Lee County.
North Carolina Secretary of Health and Human Services Carmen Hooker Odom announced last month that her department planned to reduce funding for mental health, developmental disability and substance abuse services.
The proposed reduction represents the state’s efforts to enact the policies of the Mental Health Reform Act of 2001 in a timely fashion.
Gov. Mike Easley signed the bill into law four years ago, which mandated that area mental health authorities must be consolidated into Local Management Entities (LMEs) that serve larger regions. (more…)