Legislative Analyst's Office
Analysis of the 2003-04 Budget Bill
The Department of Developmental Services (DDS) operates five developmental centers (Agnews, Fairview, Lanterman, Porterville, and Sonoma) and two leased facilities (Canyon Springs and Sierra Vista). As of December 31, 2002, the system housed approximately 3,600 clients. The budget includes $50.3 million for two related projects at the Porterville Developmental Center.
We withhold recommendation on the 96-bed Forensic Residential Expansion and the Forensic Recreation and Activity Center projects, pending receipt and review of information assuring that these facilities will attain federal certification and a corresponding resumption of federal Medicaid reimbursements for the forensic clients.
96-Bed Forensic Residential Expansion. The Governor's budget includes $44.5 million for the planning and construction of six 16-bed residential units, a protective services facility, and related security improvements for the Secured Treatment Program (STP) at the Porterville Developmental Center (Porterville). This proposal also includes an extension of the perimeter security fence and road, three new guard towers, a sally port and associated security equipment, new water well, emergency generator building, and related site work. Currently, the STP is at full capacity and, based on DDS projections of the forensic/severe behavioral population, 96 additional beds will be needed over the next five years.
Forensic Recreation and Activity Center. The Governor's budget includes $5.7 million for the planning and construction of a recreational and activity center within the STP fenced area at Porterville. The project consists of a 16,140 square foot (sf) recreational facility and swimming pool complex, a 2,000 sf swimming pool, small serving kitchen, restroom/shower facility with lockers, a large multipurpose area, and related site improvements.
Federal Certification of STP. We understand the STP lost its federal certification several years ago because of disparate treatment of the forensic/severe behavioral population when DDS enclosed the STP with a security fence and confined this population to the fenced area. However, DDS indicates there is a possibility that the STP at Porterville could receive federal certification again if the 96-bed expansion and the recreation and activity center are constructed. The department states that the 96-bed expansion facilities are modeled after a New York facility for forensic clients similar to those at Porterville and that the New York facility was successful in achieving full federal certification. The recreation and activity center would address the disparate treatment of the forensic/severe behavioral population.
According to DDS, if the 96-bed expansion receives federal certification, the department would receive approximately $4.9 million per year in federal Medicaid reimbursements for the forensic clients it houses. If the recreation and activity center is built and receives federal certification, DDS states that California would receive $15.6 million per year in federal reimbursements. In sum, if all proposed facilities are built and receive federal certification, the Porterville STP would receive $20.6 million annually in federal Medicaid reimbursements.
Given these assertions by DDS, we contacted the federal government's Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for information concerning the possible federal certification of both the proposed 96-bed expansion and the recreation and activity center at Porterville. At the time of this analysis, we had not received information regarding the possibility of these two facilities receiving full federal certification.
We withhold recommendation on the 96-bed Forensic Residential Expansion and the Forensic Recreation and Activity Center projects pending receipt and review of information assuring that these facilities will receive federal certification and a corresponding resumption of federal Medicaid reimbursements for the STP clients.
As discussed in the "Crosscutting Issues" section of this chapter, if the Legislature approves these projects, we recommend the addition of budget bill language that assures the Legislature's oversight role when fully funding all phases of a lease-revenue bond project.
The Sequoia Base Center of the California Conservation Corps (CCC) is currently located on the Porterville grounds needed for the 96-bed expansion and the recreation and activity center. According to the CCC, it has leased the current facilities and site from DDS since 1984. If the DDS projects are approved by the Legislature, the CCC will have to vacate its current location on the Porterville grounds. We understand that DDS has offered to transfer a surplus parcel of land at Porterville to the CCC for a new Sequoia Base Center.
In any case, because of the proposed DDS projects at Porterville, the CCC has submitted a capital outlay budget change proposal for $14.4 million for construction of a new Sequoia Base Center. We are withholding recommendation on the CCC proposal pending the Legislature's action on the DDS Porterville projects.