News Article Details

Commissioners talk mental-health funding

Times-News - 8/21/2017

Aug. 21--GRAHAM -- The Alamance County Board of Commissioners will vote tonight on how to spend $1.2 million in county funds for mental health services, most of which will go to keeping people with mental illnesses out of jail.

The commissioners voted in the spring to distribute the so-called maintenance-of-effort funds the state requires it to spend on mental health care itself instead of going through the management agency Cardinal Innovations.

Almost $1.1 million, the bulk of that money, according to county staff recommendations, would go to RHA Health Services.

RHA operates the county's mental-health crisis center. The county money would go to continue operations at RHA, but also to start the work toward expanding the center's hours, which are now 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, with the aim of diverting more nonviolent offenders with mental illnesses from jail and into treatment.

The money would go also to expanding RHA's collaboration with Cone Health, Alamance Regional Medical Center and Residential Treatment Services:

--$54,305 for the Alamance County Stepping Up Initiative, the group made up of law-enforcement, health care agencies and local governments to steer people into treatment when they have a crisis;

--$46,000 for ARMC, partly to supplement the pay of two psychiatric nurse practitioners and to help fund the interim program to divert people with mental illnesses from jail;

--$11,141 for Ralph Scott Life Services, in part to support the StarPoint Day Program for adults; and

--$6,500 for Residential Treatment Services of Alamance County, in part for expanded crisis services.

THE COMMISSIONERS ALSO will consider:

A request from the Alamance-Burlington School System to use $78,000 in lottery funds for school repairs, which will leave close to $2.4 million in the fund balance. That is what lottery funds are for, so these requests are almost always granted.

And the commissioners will set a public hearing, probably Sept. 18, on changes to the Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance because of new flood insurance rate maps from the N.C. Department of Public Safety.

Reporter Isaac Groves can be reached at igroves@thetimesnews.com or 336-506-3045. Follow him on Twitter at @tnigroves.

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(c)2017 Times-News (Burlington, N.C.)

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