Spending on mental health higher: Sunday's column suggested that, because of budget cuts, treatment of mental illness had "pretty much gone by the wayside" in Louisiana. Spending on mental health is 30 percent higher than it was when Jindal took office in 2008, according to his spokesman."According to his spokesman" Anybody want to fact check this assertion before running it in this space?
In 2010, the city released an analysis of psychiatric bed capacity in New Orleans compared to five other similarly sized and situated U.S. cities: Atlanta, Cleveland, Memphis, Tenn., St. Louis and Washington, DC.Update: Yesterday, in the Letters To The Editor section (where the Jindal PR factoid should have run) we find this question.
At that time, the report found, there were 165 inpatient psych beds in New Orleans, a rate of 46.5 per 100,000 population — down from 364 total and 78.9 per 100,000 pre-Katrina. Of those, 60 were adult inpatient beds — fewer than the 77 at Charity Hospital alone prior to August 2005 — 16.9 per 100,000 population. Of course, these numbers were based on a slightly inflated pre-Census estimate population of about 354,000. Based on the actual 2010 population of 343,000, the rate is about 17.5 adult beds per 100,000.
The disparity was huge, the report found, compared to those other cities. Atlanta had 100 total beds per 100,000 population, 57.1 adult. Memphis: 74.7 total/ 63.5 adult. St. Louis: 59.1 total/46.3 adult. Washington: 62.5 total/52.4 adult. "We're at a huge deficit," says (Cecile) Tebo.
If the administration's claims are true, then we taxpayers are spending more money for reduced services. How did that happen? Have the governor's privatization initiatives increased state payments to private contractors while reducing services to the people of Louisiana? That seems to be his agenda, especially in health care and education.