Transforming California counties’ delivery of mental health services

Third Sector and California counties are building a shared vision for improving outcomes for individuals with serious mental illness

The Project

Third Sector is supporting a coalition of California counties seeking to change how they develop, implement, and evaluate critical mental health services into an outcomes-focused, person-centered approach. Counties are exploring data-informed strategies to program design and continuous improvement that build a culture of learning and center equity and the individual experience. 

In California, Full Service Partnership (FSP) programs provide comprehensive, community-based services for individuals facing serious life challenges related to mental illness. The FSP philosophy is to do “whatever it takes” to help people on their path to recovery and wellness. FSPs represent a $1 billion annual investment in public funds and have tremendous potential to reduce psychiatric hospitalizations, homelessness, incarceration and prolonged suffering by Californians with severe mental health needs. FSP programming, however, varies greatly from county to county, with different operational definitions and lack of consistent data processes that make it challenging to understand and tell a statewide impact story.

The California Multi-County Full Service Partnership (FSP) Innovation Project has brought together eight diverse counties in partnership with Third Sector (technical assistance provider), California’s Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission (MHSOAC), CalMHSA (fiscal intermediary), and RAND Corporation (evaluator) to identify and implement changes to data collection and reporting, service guidelines, eligibility and graduation requirements, and other program elements in order to improve FSP programs across the state. The project aims to implement an outcomes-focused approach that provides counties with an increased ability to use data to improve FSP services and outcomes.

This effort builds on the insights and tools developed through Third Sector’s partnership with the Ballmer Group and the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health.

For more information, please contact Nicole Kristy (nkristy@thirdsectorcap.org) and Oliver Gould (ogould@thirdsectorcap.org).

Multi-County FSP Innovation Project Report

March 2021: Year 1 Progress Report

The March 2021 Progress Report released by Third Sector and the MHSOAC provides an update on project progress, stakeholder engagement, and lessons learned from the first year of the Multi-County FSP Innovation Project.

Additional Resources

Project Deliverables

July 2021 White Paper: Learnings from the Field – Best Practices for Transitioning from Full Service Partnership Programs to Lower Levels of Care
Third Sector interviewed mental health experts, advocates, and researchers across the country to identify readiness indicators and the most promising practices for stepping individuals down to less intensive outpatient mental health programs. This white paper synthesizes recommendations from national experts and identifies opportunities for California counties and mental health services providers across the country alike to continuously improve service delivery and FSP participant outcomes. 

Webinars and Convenings

July 2021 Webinar: Leading with Outcomes (in collaboration with SAMHSA Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (MHTTC) Region 9
and the Center for Applied Research Solutions TA Center) 
In this 90-minute webinar recording, representatives from the LA County Department of Mental Health (LACDMH), the San Bernardino Department of Behavioral Health (SBC DBH), the California Mental Health Oversight and Accountability Commission (MHSOAC), and Third Sector share insights, tips, and lessons learned from California’s journey to build more outcomes-focused outpatient mental health services.

June 2021 Convening: California Learning Community 
On June 7, 2021, Third Sector and Multi-County FSP Innovation Project participants welcomed more than 90 service providers, behavioral health professionals and mental health advocates from across the state to learn about the work of six California County Behavioral Health Departments — Fresno, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Mateo, Siskiyou, and Ventura Counties — who have been working collaboratively to implement a more uniform and data-driven approach to Full-Service Partnership (FSP) programs to enhance counties’ ability to use data to improve services and FSP participant outcomes. Review this video recording of the plenary session and these presentation materials to learn more about the project and Third Sector’s efforts to transform public systems to advance improved and equitable outcomes.

March 2021 Webinar: Building a Racial Equity Approach to FSP
On March 4, 2021, Third Sector hosted a webinar focused on efforts to use data to improve cultural competency and racial equity in FSPs. The discussion brought together a diverse array of perspectives from the Departments of Mental/Behavioral Health in San Mateo, Sacramento, and Los Angeles counties, individuals from their respective provider and FSP participant communities, and members of the MHSOAC. This webinar was the second in a two-part series to share findings from this project and solicit feedback on how to ensure that these efforts have sustained value for counties and communities across California. Click to see materials and a recording of this webinar.

October 2020 Webinar: Advancing Data-Driven FSPs
On October 27, 2020, Third Sector hosted a webinar in collaboration with the MHSOAC and representatives from the Multi-County FSP Innovation Project. The webinar shared more about the project's efforts to assess FSP programs across six counties and to develop shared practices for using data to create more equitable and successful mental health services and outcomes. The discussion spanned a diverse array of perspectives including the Departments of Behavioral Health in Fresno and San Bernardino counties, individuals from their respective provider and FSP participant communities, and members of the MHSOAC. This webinar was the first in a two-part series to share findings from this project and solicit feedback on how to ensure that these efforts have sustained value for counties and communities across California. Click to see materials and a recording of this webinar.

December 2019 Convening: California Learning Community
On December 10, 2019, more than 40 participants from 17 California county agencies and the state Mental Health Oversight Commission attended a statewide workshop focusing on building a collective vision for statewide FSP outcomes. Highlights from the convening included an interactive logic model discussion, a root cause analysis activity, and multiple feedback sessions on the structure of future FSP Learning Community workshops.

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