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Fiscal Analysis of Mental Health Redesign in Milwaukee County

This report assesses the fiscal impacts of inpatient and long-term care bed closures at the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex and considers how a redesigned system of care will impact the Behavioral Health Division's (BHD) financial future.

We analyze financial trends and recent budget developments, and then model the fiscal impacts of 60-, 32-, and 16-bed adult inpatient scenarios for 2017. The modeling exercise reveals estimated savings from continued bed reductions and highlights the following fiscal constraints:

  • The Mental Health Complex's indirect costs are only loosely linked to its bed capacity, and this factor will continue to curtail savings associated with future downsizing initiatives.
  • Because key components of BHD's indirect cost structure are linked to its existing facility and its treatment as a department of Milwaukee County government, it has limited options to reduce indirect costs.
  • The cost pressures associated with BHD's emergency room facility also erode savings from inpatient downsizing and reduce amounts available for community reinvestment.

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Media Coverage

"Costs hamper mental health reforms, report says"
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel