Mental health provider disputes county’s effort to stop payments

From the Eugene Register-Guard April 29 2009

The county accuses the agency of mismanagement and poor record-keeping

Medicaid-­supported services at a Springfield nonprofit mental health provider will continue past their previously expected end on Thursday while the agency challenges Lane County government’s effort to discontinue the payments, a county official said Tuesday.

The county plans to end its contract with Valia Health Resources because of Valia’s mismanagement, poor record-keeping and other concerns, said Rob Rockstroh, director of Health and Human Services.

Valia has said some of the county’s concerns are inaccurate and others are relatively minor and easily addressed.

The agency is “hoping to demonstrate to the county that ours is a good-faith effort to meet and exceed the requirements, as well as continue to improve our internal management processes,” Valia operations coordinator Drake Ewbank said.

Valia clients do not need to change mental health providers while the matter remains unresolved, the county said. Those who have switched providers can return to Valia or remain with the current provider, the county said.

Valia serves about 150 people with schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, trauma and other mental health disorders.

The agency is peer-run, with more than half of its dozen or so counselors, therapists and other employees having recovered from disorders, Ewbank said.

The county in 2007 approved Valia for Medicaid coverage, giving Valia a stable source of funding to pay for its staff.

OUR COMMENT – Valia Health Resources is a subset of SAFE, a Springfield-based mental health peer/self-help organization.