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We want to welcome you personally to a new level of partnership with San Francisco Community Mental Health Services (CMHS) and the Department of Public Health. As a provider partner, you will assist CMHS in continuing its core mission of providing services to severely mentally ill adults and severely emotionally disturbed children. In addition, we will work together to fulfill an expanded mandate to provide services to a broader population of Medi-Cal and indigent residents of San Francisco.

As of April 1, 1998, responsibility for Fee-for-Service Medi-Cal specialty mental health services has transitioned to the City and County of San Francisco. CMHS has developed the San Francisco Mental Health Plan to provide increased access to mental health services for a broader population of City and County residents including the indigent.

The mission of the San Francisco Mental Health Plan (SFMHP) is to provide eligible persons of San Francisco with access to a high quality, effective, cost-efficient system of mental health care which is community based, culturally competent and consumer- guided.

With this mission in mind, SFMHP must effectively manage scarce inpatient, residential, and other costly resources, while providing a higher level of access to a larger covered population. We hope to "break" the mold and provide a managed care program that is provider friendly, accessible, and committed to core values of putting consumer needs and quality of care first.

Given the limited resources within our system, this will be a difficult task demanding innovative, creative and thoughtful solutions to maximizing the value of mental health care dollars.

We look forward to our work together, and once again welcome you to the community of providers dedicated to providing public mental health services.

Jo Ruffin, L.C.S.W.

Letter from the Medical Director

Welcome to the San Francisco Mental Health Plan. I thought it might be useful to review some of the services and values of our overall system.

I believe the San Francisco Mental Health Plan has the broadest range of community based services of any community mental health system in California. Through the San Francisco Mental Health Plan, San Francisco provides services for a broad array of Medi-Cal recipients and other San Franciscans through a sliding scale.

Over the last few years we have focused on developing services for those individuals with combined substance abuse and mental health disorders. We have a strong commitment to providing integrated service for those with dual disorders and a commitment to ensuring that substance abuse issues are addressed effectively in treatment, either through combined treatment by substance abuse and mental health or by providing combined treatment within the mental health system. We have identified the issue of treatment addressed at substance abuse issues as a key aspect of our quality improvement process.

The San Francisco Mental Health Plan provides a broad array of rehabilitation services that those of you who are individual practitioner providers may not be aware of: we have crisis residential and residential treatment programs for those who need more intensive treatment than is available on an outpatient basis but who don't require an acute inpatient hospitalization; we provide day treatment and day socialization services for people who need help reintegrating into a social role or social or occupational role; we also have a number of specialized programs for people with different disorders and from different cultural backgrounds.

Because there are so many services, you may have difficulty determining what the best match is for someone that you're seeing. For that reason, and also because we recognize that no one individual can be an expert in all the facets of community mental health, we value consultation and we provide consultation to our network of providers through the Access Team. Please contact the Access Team if you are finding that you are facing a difficult clinical situation or trying to figure out what to do for someone who is not making progress in treatment.

We also believe strongly in the importance of integrating mental health treatment into primary care and one of the things that we will be evaluating from a quality improvement standpoint is the effectiveness of your communication with a patient's primary care provider. Our hope is that you will always attempt to get permission from your patient to communicate with the patient's primary care provider.

Finally, if there is any way that I can be of help to you, please don't hesitate to contact me at my office (415-255-3430). Effective treatment for our patients requires us to work together collaboratively.

Peter Forster, M.D.

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