When creating their annual budgets every spring, each department Santa Barbara County government provides methods by which its performance can be measured; goals to gauge their success or failure.
Some homeless advocates in Santa Barbara are casting a critical eye on the performance measures the Alcohol Drug and Mental Health Services Department (ADMHS) is using to gauge its effectiveness as the sole provider of mental health care to poor and indigent residents here.
The measurements, listed in the ADMHS 2011-2012 budget, (www.countyofsb.org/ceo/) are presented alongside proposed spending levels for different departmental programs. Some are innocuous and by the book. But the ones relating to adult mental health and inpatient treatment–also known as psychiatric hospitalization—read as if the department is measuring success by the number of hospitalizations it can avoid this fiscal year. To read more, see homelessinsb.org.