State: Mental health services lacking in Curry County

From the Curry Coastal Pilot, July 11 2009

A state audit of Curry County mental health services showed the county lacking, Curry County Commissioner George Rhodes said Friday.

“Basically, they’re saying we’ve got the same issues we had a year ago,” said Rhodes, the county commission liaison to the Human Services Department.

He said the state and Jefferson Behavioral Health met with county officials for three days this week.

“At this point, the state will complete the report and we’ll have 90 days to respond,” Rhodes said.
He said the main issues are record keeping and staffing issues.

“We’ll be working with JBH to come up with a funding level that’s appropriate,” Rhodes said.

He said that one problem is that JBH issues money to Curry County based on population, not need.

Jefferson Behavioral Health is a mental health services organization and has a contract with the State of Oregon to manage mental health services covered by the Oregon Health Plan.

JBH, headquartered in Grants Pass, provides services through the Community Mental Health Programs in Coos, Curry, Jackson, Josephine and Klamath Counties. JBH also contracts with Psychiatric Residential and Day Treatment Providers to deliver intensive treatment services for children.

Rhodes said the state will be putting pressure on JBH to increase funding for Curry County.

“It’s the whole mental health program throughout the county,” he said, including such organizations as Hammond House. “We will be meeting with Carol Raper, the interim director of the Department of Human Services. She’s an outstanding clinical director. She’s working hard to fill both positions.”

Raper was named interim director effective July 1 when Joe Adair retired.

“We have some really good applicants for that position,” Rhodes said. “Previously, we didn’t have any applicants.”

When David White left two years ago to work for JBH, Adair, a former director of the Josephine County Human Services Department, agreed to come out of retirement to temporarily handle the job after the county got no applicants. He eventually agreed to stay on but said earlier this year he would retire for good on July 1.

“There is a tool for us to use to get better,” Rhodes said. “We’re getting things started with JBH. They recognize to be successful we have to have a partnership with the state and JBH, Curry General Hospital, law enforcement, the District Attorney – everybody who has to work for our mental health.”