Drug, mental health contracts to be extended by Clallam commissioners
By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News
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Individual contract amendments will be brought back for formal approval.
“This is pretty much the spend plan absent the last six months of treatment contracts for 2014,” Commissioner Jim McEntire said.
County Health and Human Services Director Iva Burks said the six-month extensions are the result of uncertainties surrounding the Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare,” which takes full effect
“We decided that perhaps we needed to look at extensions of six months of the treatment contracts since it didn’t appear we would know by Jan. 1 exactly how the Affordable Care Act would affect those providers,” Burks said.
“We still don’t know.”
The county has a Chemical Dependency/Mental Health Program Fund advisory board that recommends contracts funded by a one-tenth of 1 percent state sales tax that voters approved in 2007.
The tax is dedicated to the treatment of chemical dependency, mental health problems and co-occuring disorders.
Last year, the county served 15,200 clients through contracts with treatment providers.
In addition to the six-month contracts, the recommendation calls for a full year’s worth of funding for prevention programs and adult and youth drug court.
“Prevention is probably not affected by the Affordable Care [Act], so we’re recommending that they go for the full year,” Burks said.
The total amount of the recommended contracts is $1.19 million.
“That will pull a little out of reserves,” Burks said. “Next year, we still anticipate having about $407,000 in reserves.”
The recommendation includes $238,260 for the establishment of the Peninsula Behavioral Health crisis stabilization unit.
Commissioners in March approved the funds to help establish a mental health crisis respite center in Port Angeles.
The crisis center will open next year in the southwest corner of the St. Vincent De Paul building at 112 E. Eighth St.
It will become the only psychiatric center on the North Olympic Peninsula.
The recommendation also includes $77,000 to Juvenile and Family Services to maintain chemical dependency counselor services for kids, and $15,000 to the Forks substance abuse coalition to help fund a coordinator’s position with a match from the Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery.
“The intent is just to keep everybody whole for the first six months until it settles out and we see where we are,” McEntire said.
In other discussion from the weekly work session, commissioners said they would call a Nov. 26 public hearing on the six-year transportation improvement program.
Six-year transportation plans are updated annually.
Later on Monday, commissioners held their first round of all-day budget meetings with elected officials and department heads.
The board reviewed budget requests from the Road Department, Auditor’s Office, Information Technology, Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Washington State University Extension and the Law Library.
Today’s budget meetings involve Superior Court, Human Resources, the Board of Equalization, Health and Human Services, Treasurer, Clerk and District Courts 1 and 2.
On Thursday, commissioners will meet with the heads of Juvenile and Family Services, Noxious Weeds, Parks, Fair and Facilities, the Assessor’s Office and Community Development.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at email@example.com.
Last modified: October 28. 2013 6:37PM