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Governor's budget earmarks funding for mental, inmate and rural health issues

Andrew Nixon/Capital Public Radio
California Gov. Jerry Brown presents his May revision to the state budget, detailing a plan to place the bulk of an $8.8 billion surplus into rainy-day reserves and one-time investments.

Governor Jerry Brown has proposed some one-time budget allotments that could improve health services for inmates, the mentally ill and rural residents going forward; all currently key issues in San Luis Obispo County.

Some health advocates were disappointed that Brown didn't back long-term changes to Medi-Cal or Covered California in his budget update last week.

But there are groups who could benefit from his smaller-scale investments. The revision dedicates $3.2 billion dollars to health services for California inmates.

The funding would help hire more psychiatry staff, expand Hepatitis C treatment, and reduce mold exposure and other infrastructure problems that threaten health.

Hundreds of millions will go to counties to encourage them to improve and expand mental health services, both for homeless individuals and for the general population. And other funding would support psychiatric graduate medical education programs in rural areas where mental health providers are scarce.