McLean County Administrator Bill Wasson says the Center for Human Services' decision to stop taking new referrals to its psychiatric program could have a wide-ranging impact on some county services.
Wasson said the county's Behavioral Health Coordinating Council has been working to address a lack of psychiatric care for the last two years.
“Some of the planning and the coordination and the dialogue has been ongoing with a wide range of community partners is helpful to coming together to look at resources and opportunities for us to try and work to address the issue,” Wasson says.
He said two new programs the county will start funding in January through a recent sales tax increase might help.
One would serve as a mental health crisis triage, and another would help frequent users to minimize the time they spend in emergency rooms and in the criminal justice system.
“We will obviously need to take a look at how we may or may not be able to utilize those programs in concert with meeting the needs of this current gap,” Wasson says.
He said Behavioral Health Coordinating Council Supervisor Trisha Malott is currently hiring staff and working to secure a location for those programs. Wasson said the programs will be housed at some county facility which has not yet been determined.
Wasson said the county will no longer be able to refer clients to CHS through its problem-solving courts—drug, mental health and veterans—or from its jail or juvenile detention center.
He said the county is engaged in talks with various health care providers to seek short and long-term solutions for psychiatric care, including Chestnut Health Systems, Advocate BroMenn and OSF St. Joseph Medical Center.
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