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May 7, 2010

Sacramento County sued over mental health cuts

SACRAMENTO, Calif.—A federal lawsuit wants to prevent Sacramento County from making budget cuts that could force thousands of mentally ill people out of community treatment programs.

The suit filed Thursday against the county and the Board of Supervisors contends that a proposal to eliminate outpatient care for about 5,000 people on June 30 will violate state and federal laws and increase the chance of harm to the patients.

It was filed in Sacramento federal court by two legal groups and a disability rights group.

A county spokeswoman says officials haven't seen the suit.

The county's mental health services department wants to shave $17 million from its budget by cutting its ties to five outpatient programs and instead opening four new county-run clinics.