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Vanneman ME, Snowden LR. Linking the Legislative Process to the Consequences of Realigning California's Public Mental Health System. Administration and policy in mental health. 2015 Sep 1; 42(5):593-605.
In 1991, California transferred significant responsibility, resources, and accountability for public mental health from the state to its 58 counties. Using purposeful sampling, we conducted in-depth interviews with ten senior state and county leaders to gain insights into the relatively uncharted area of their understanding of this legislation's intent, development, and long-term consequences. While realignment secured funding for the system and provided incentives and flexibility for counties to move toward providing more community-based care, the decision to base realignment allocations on counties' historical spending along with minimal payments to address differences helped to institutionalize spending disparities. Results of this study can inform how we develop and implement decentralization policies.