Board approves mental health spending plan

Plumas County Behavioral Health Services has some money to spend thanks to the Mental Health Services Act. The Board of Supervisors approved the department’s almost $7.1 million program and expenditure plan for 2017-2020 in a unanimous vote.

Behavioral Health Director Bob Brunson presented the plan to the board. The department will enter into 16 contracts with community entities, such as Feather River College and the county’s three hospitals, to provide enhanced mental health services to the community.

“Basically after we’ve got beaten up for not having any mental health services, this is rolling it out in every aspect,” said District 4 Supervisor Lori Simpson in reference to the expenditure plan. “It covers the baby to the elderly, and all in between in our county.”

District 5 Supervisor Jeff Engel expressed concern over the detail and deliverables of the service agreements.

“This is exactly why I think we need a CAO,” said Engel. “I can’t in all good conscious agree to this without knowing what is in each contract.”

Brunson responded by walking through the summary of each service agreement. Some examples of what the plan covers include availability of nine cabins for mental health clients through the Environmental Alternatives Agreement, funding to hospitals for the physical health of the clients and funding for a full-time mental health counselor at Feather River College.

There was also discussion about the $806,539 contract with the Plumas Crisis Intervention and Resource Center that the board struck from the agenda due to complications from an investigation based on underperformance by the Intervention Center.

“We lowered the expectation and increased the timeline, and … I don’t think there is anything other than just a lack of capability and capacity,” said Brunson.

“My concern is if they decide to close the sites due to lack of funding then our services will suffer,” said Brunson.

County Counsel Craig Settlemire said discussion on the agreement was limited due to the nature of legal issues and confidentiality requirements. The matter of the Plumas Crisis Intervention and Resource Center funding will be readdressed at the next board meeting on Oct. 3.

There’s No Place Like Home

Brunson had good news for the housing future of mental health patients. The No Place Like Home program offers money to address homelessness for people with mental health illnesses. The program provides grants to develop plans for housing options for clients. The board gave approval for the Mental Health Department to pursue the grants, which will be $75,000 to start, and could apply for a subsequent $500,000 when the process progresses.

The ‘Smart’ choice

The supervisors approved a new employment agreement between the county and Elliot Smart. Smart, the Director of Social Services/Public Guardian, will work on restructuring the Health and Human Services agencies of Social Services, Public Health and Behavioral Health. Smart will construct a new model for the combination of the three services, which is the model many other counties have adopted .

“I conceptually agree with this but … I don’t agree with the raise in compensation,” said Engel.

Smart now will be making $135,000 a year; his previous pay was approximately $105,000. The board approved the agreement with a 4-1 vote, with Engel against.

Mental Health Services Act Program and Expenditure plan for 2017-2020

– Environmental Alternatives Agreement 1718EA: $500,000

– Eastern Plumas Health Care Agreement 1720EPHC: $300,000

– Feather River College Agreement 1720FRC: $557,032

– Plumas County Public Health Agency MOU PCPH-SC: $581,2014

– Plumas County Public Health Agency MOU PCPH-VSO: $230,707

– Plumas County Public Health Agency MOU PCPH-YPP: $147,236

– Plumas Crisis Intervention and Resource Center Agreement 1718PCIRC-CAS: $51,696

– *Plumas Crisis Intervention and Resource Center Agreement 1720PCIRC-WFRC: $806,539

– Plumas District Hospital Agreement 1720PDH: $300,000

– Plumas Rural Services Agreement 1720PRS-CC: $278,564

– Plumas Rural Services Agreement 1720PRS-CBHTP: $325,986

– Plumas Rural Services Agreement 1720PRS-YCMHP: $987,589

– Plumas Rural Services Agreement 1720PRS-YSP: $526,839

– Plumas Rural Services Agreement 1720PRS-CSTHG: $920,306

– Plumas Unified School District Agreement 1720PUSD: $994,000

– Roundhouse Council Agreement 1720RC: $231,975

– Seneca Healthcare District Agreement 1720-SHD: $210,000

*Agreement to be discussed during Board of Supervisors Oct. 3 meeting.