Mental health providers feel economic...

Mental health providers feel economic strain

There are 18 comments on the Asheville Citizen-Times story from Feb 6, 2009, titled Mental health providers feel economic strain. In it, Asheville Citizen-Times reports that:

ASHEVILLE The economic meltdown has hit mental health service providers, and several are asking the area management agency for bridge loans because they can't get credit to keep their cash flow up.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Asheville Citizen-Times.

Ann Ryder

AOL

#1 Feb 7, 2009
There was a cadre of mental health advocates that saw this fiasco coming ten years ago and warned the politicians, officials, and citizens. We were poo-pooed..."just give the reform time to work". The state MH system was destroyed. The reform never was about service to the most vunerable among us, but about siphoning off huge amounts of taxpayers' money. We can thank Steve Metcalf, whose company wrote the reform, Larry Thompson, head of Blue Ridge Mental Health, David Matney, attorney for Blue Ridge who helped put the foul schemes together, and of course, Larry Leake, pulling the strings.
nctxnc

Candler, NC

#2 Feb 7, 2009
This is a shame. Where's some bailout money for these much needed. As for Blue Ridge things would still be as they were if not for some brave Macon County politicians asking tough questions of their leadership as to where the money was going. Kudos to the Macon County commissioners.

Since: Nov 08

The Mountains of WNC

#3 Feb 7, 2009
Ann Ryder wrote:
There was a cadre of mental health advocates that saw this fiasco coming ten years ago and warned the politicians, officials, and citizens. We were poo-pooed..."just give the reform time to work". The state MH system was destroyed. The reform never was about service to the most vunerable among us, but about siphoning off huge amounts of taxpayers' money. We can thank Steve Metcalf, whose company wrote the reform, Larry Thompson, head of Blue Ridge Mental Health, David Matney, attorney for Blue Ridge who helped put the foul schemes together, and of course, Larry Leake, pulling the strings.
Ann, you are correct. The situation continues to worsen, and is going to become hyper-critical now that the economy is in the tank. No one seems able or willing to do anything to get the state system back on track. Our legislators apparently could not care less. As I see it, the only people trying to find out some answers are the folks in Macon County who set up a Mental Health committee. County Commissioner Ronnie Beale is on that commmittee, and they are asking some tough questions and demanding straight answers, not only from the state but from the providers, too. I would suggest that other counties might want to follow suit. We are already in desperate need of mental health services, and it's only going to get worse.
Mentally ill

Hickory, NC

#4 Feb 7, 2009
Thank God for my provider. After Blue Ridge closed then New Vistas, i had no where to go. "Crazies" like me need a place to be served and I get more from my caseworker than I ever did 5 years ago. I didn't ask for what I have.

That is the problem

Greenville, SC

#5 Feb 7, 2009
Unfortunately, I think there are only two ways that this is going to change in my opinion: class action lawsuit or following public outrage after some major catastrophe such as followed the shooting at Virginia Tech (where shooter was someone with mental illness who received inadequate treatment).
twilight

Suffolk, VA

#6 Feb 7, 2009
It just makes my blood boil that mental health has always taken a back seat to physical health. It's like any problem above the eyebrows doesn't count or deserve any attention. My heart breaks for those who really need mental health services and have no where to go. It is beyond cruel.

I used to work in the mental health field and it was the most enjoyable job I have ever had.

I know hospitals, doctor's office and those in the physical health profession are very important, but so is mental health. I hope I live to see the day when mental health is deemed important.
Brown

Candler, NC

#7 Feb 7, 2009
I agree that these services are needed through out the community. My problem with these mental health providers is with how poorly run they are. It seems like there are good providers out there as far as services go, but they are run into the ground by mismanagement of their funds. They live off of Medicaid and state funds, so you know their funds are going to be tight, leaving nearly no margin for error in the handling of their money. Often, the CEO's and upper management of these companies are former case workers. Nothing wrong with case workers moving up starting their own agencies, they just need to be better trained on the financial side of the industry. They often operate under a theoretical budget that sends them into needing bailouts from Western Highlands.
drive no blabbing

Hendersonville, NC

#8 Feb 7, 2009
RALEIGH

Drivers in North Carolina may soon have to put down their cell phones.

Some state legislators want to make it a criminal violation for drivers to send text messages.

Other legislators want to prohibit drivers from talking on hand-held cell phones.

The proposals raise questions about how far government should go to restrict activities that virtually everyone agrees are distracting and potentially dangerous.

Drivers caught sending text messages would be subject to a fine up to $100.

I hope this law passes. I have nearly been hit several times by people yapping on the cell phone and not paying attention where they were going. Don't criticize the police....after all they're doing a job that puts their life at jeopardy EVERY DAY....a job that none of us would want to do. What did you do before cell phones? You pulled over and used a pay phone. So what is all of the griping about. I wonder if you would have such ugly, sarcastic remarks if one of your loved ones was killed by someone behind the wheel of a car texting or talking on a cell phone. I HOPE THIS LAW PASSES!!!!!!!!!
dje1960

Hendersonville, NC

#9 Feb 7, 2009
Now it also effects persons who are developmentally disabled also. There is not enough space for me to tell about all the stuff our guys have to deal with the system is so messed up the are loosing services and new people coming from another place are getting nothing

“Good to be here”

Since: Jul 08

Not here

#10 Feb 7, 2009
dje1960 wrote:
Now it also effects persons who are developmentally disabled also. There is not enough space for me to tell about all the stuff our guys have to deal with the system is so messed up the are loosing services and new people coming from another place are getting nothing
Totally agree with you regarding the services for developmentally disabled. Their funds have been cut drastically. It's really a shame to because these are individuals who are not going to heal. They can be taught ways to better manage, but they are not going to recover from their Down Syndrome.
John Sumner

United States

#11 Feb 7, 2009
drive no blabbing wrote:
RALEIGH
Drivers in North Carolina may soon have to put down their cell phones.
Some state legislators want to make it a criminal violation for drivers to send text messages.
Other legislators want to prohibit drivers from talking on hand-held cell phones.
The proposals raise questions about how far government should go to restrict activities that virtually everyone agrees are distracting and potentially dangerous.
Drivers caught sending text messages would be subject to a fine up to $100.
I hope this law passes. I have nearly been hit several times by people yapping on the cell phone and not paying attention where they were going. Don't criticize the police....after all they're doing a job that puts their life at jeopardy EVERY DAY....a job that none of us would want to do. What did you do before cell phones? You pulled over and used a pay phone. So what is all of the griping about. I wonder if you would have such ugly, sarcastic remarks if one of your loved ones was killed by someone behind the wheel of a car texting or talking on a cell phone. I HOPE THIS LAW PASSES!!!!!!!!!
I understand what you are saying but what does it have to do with mental health?
Ann Ryder

AOL

#12 Feb 7, 2009
I deep down believe that the mental health reform is a trial run for universal health care. This is the way that folks with physical ailments will be shunted aside without real help. It will consist of layers upon layers of administrators and officials...and billions (more likely trillions) of tax dollars disappearing. That is our future.

“Drive defensively, buy a tank.”

Since: Feb 08

Edge of the Earth

#13 Feb 7, 2009
Part of the problem is the overpayment of underqualified and unqualified individuals working in the mental health system. Management has no business management qualifications, only mental health credentials. Being a good counselor does not automatically qualify someone to run a business successfully. Sadly, even with these mental health credentials, management has taken morale among employees to an all time low. Employees are subjected to having to meet quotas on "sales" - otherwise known as billable hours, or risk having a severe pay reduction or termination. Trying to fit the needs of the most critical mental health patients into a sales quota business model just can not be in the best interest of the clients served.

Some mental health companies are notorious for hiring unqualified family members and paying them more than qualified individuals working in the same positions. They have bled the system dry and continue to attempt to do so. The state, after years of this financial abuse, only recently changed the requirements that clients spend more time with qualified staff, rather than have the state shell out $61 an hour to pay companies to hire high school graduates to drive clients to the movies and grocery store.

The system will most likely have to reach complete collapse before it is fixed but it looks like that may be coming soon. The tragedy is that those clients most in need of services, and least able to advocate for their own needs, are the ones sacrificied so that greedy, underqualified individuals can suck off the taxpayers as long as possible.
Finally To Irate

Maxton, NC

#14 Feb 7, 2009
For those that think some MH providers hire under/unqualifed staff to provide services, you are absolutely correct. However, the state has just passed a new reimbursement system that pays according to education level and those agencies that ripped off the system are now going to be hurting and more than likely closing. C-YA.
I would like to go on record as a worker that not all agencies are like this, our agency has a direct care staff made up of about 80-90% qualified (min 4 year degree in the field) and that is about 100 staff.
And just to clarify the comment made about taking on to much when new vistas closed and bad planning by an unamed agency. If they had not stepped up who would? So it may have been rushed but I would trade that for clients not recieving services until everything was lined out in stone. Some of us still care more about the clients than the money. That includes a certain CEO of same unnamed agency who only makes slightly more than those qualified employees he hired, when he gets paid at all.
So before lumping all providers, for or non profit, do your homework. Just like clients or people in general, not all providers are alike.

“Drive defensively, buy a tank.”

Since: Feb 08

Edge of the Earth

#15 Feb 7, 2009
Finally To Irate wrote:
For those that think some MH providers hire under/unqualifed staff to provide services, you are absolutely correct. However, the state has just passed a new reimbursement system that pays according to education level and those agencies that ripped off the system are now going to be hurting and more than likely closing. C-YA.
Now they're just going to Western Highlands, hat in hand, trying to get a "bridge loan." So now that they can no longer get the payments for trumped-up services as they did before, they just ask for an advance. Wonder what happens if they get the bridge loan and still go under? Taxpayers are still ripped off, mental health clients are still ripped off. Some CEOs are still driving their large German sedans and living well on the backs of lower management stupid enough to pay bills out of their own pockets.
Dont forget history

Hickory, NC

#16 Feb 7, 2009
Mountain Laurel wrote:
<quoted text>
Now they're just going to Western Highlands, hat in hand, trying to get a "bridge loan." So now that they can no longer get the payments for trumped-up services as they did before, they just ask for an advance. Wonder what happens if they get the bridge loan and still go under? Taxpayers are still ripped off, mental health clients are still ripped off. Some CEOs are still driving their large German sedans and living well on the backs of lower management stupid enough to pay bills out of their own pockets.
Mountain Laurel. Didn't that agency go hat in hand repeatedly to the government for help??? What's the word I'm looking for, oh yeah, HYPOCRISY.
They needed it, and they failed. Current providers need it, they might fail. Until there is enough money in the system most will need help, unless they're crooked.
Be fair.
lanelocust48

Maxton, NC

#17 Feb 7, 2009
I just want to know this....why all the stuff about the LME's when it should be all about getting the mentally challenged people in WNC and in NC the proper help that is needed.
There is a lot of people who need help with mental health challenges. Albeit, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, personality disorders, depression, ADD, ADHD, etc....whether one wants to recognize it everyone that is alive right now, has susceptibility of becoming depressed.
What is depression? It's a mental health issue.
Let's get away from the political brew haa and get back on track helping the mentally challenged (and developmentally disabled too!)...
Yes, the mental health system is broken. That's nothing new. And one can't forget that Smoky Mtn's own Tom McDevitt resigned (or retired) admist controversy!!
Let's do this great state a favor! Let's help the people who need the help most!!! Without having to have politics land in the middle of it all.

Since: Nov 08

The Mountains of WNC

#18 Feb 7, 2009
lanelocust48 wrote:
I just want to know this....why all the stuff about the LME's when it should be all about getting the mentally challenged people in WNC and in NC the proper help that is needed.
There is a lot of people who need help with mental health challenges. Albeit, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, personality disorders, depression, ADD, ADHD, etc....whether one wants to recognize it everyone that is alive right now, has susceptibility of becoming depressed.
What is depression? It's a mental health issue.
Let's get away from the political brew haa and get back on track helping the mentally challenged (and developmentally disabled too!)...
Yes, the mental health system is broken. That's nothing new. And one can't forget that Smoky Mtn's own Tom McDevitt resigned (or retired) admist controversy!!
Let's do this great state a favor! Let's help the people who need the help most!!! Without having to have politics land in the middle of it all.
I couldn't agree more. But we've got to have our legislators support some additional funding.$25 million cut last year, more the year prior, our mental health system cannot work on such a shoestring budget. It's up to those of us who care about quality mental health care to contact and stay on our legislative delegation to get some funding bills passed that will actually bring money to these agencies trying to help those with mental disorders.

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