County approves expending dissolution funds
After two months of debate, Rutherford County Commissioners have settled on spending $240,000 of mental health dissolution funds.
During their September meeting — held at the Ellenboro Volunteer Fire Department due to the county Revenue Department moving into the county annex while construction to their offices in the courthouse begin — commissioners approved shifting the dissolution fund to the Community Health Clinic (CHC) to expand its behavioral health services.
The condition of the approval is that mobile crisis be implemented into the expansion.
"It became apparent to me that mobile crisis was in crisis in Rutherford County," said Carl Classen, Rutherford County manager. "It just didn't exist."
Under the terms of the expansion, CHC will add a psychiatric nurse practitioner, licensed clinical social worker, midlevel provider, licensed practical nurse and a front office registrar. All accounts for $175,240. A remaining $4,600 will be added for supplies.
Sandra McGriff, CEO of CHC said the organization has already increased its care to 52 hours per week for uninsured in the county.
"Because of the success we have been having, we expanded our care so we can provide care to those who need behavioral care," McGriff said. "We do substance abuse and access to basic therapy services to those who need it."
Over the last months, commissioners contended a need for a sustainable solution due to the fact that the dissolution funds were a "one-time shot" of funds.
McGriff said the sustainability will come from billing. She said CHC anticipates $313,000 in billable services. Even though most of the services will be provided to the uninsured, she said they anticipate an 80 percent collection rate.
Michelle Pimentel, director of development for CHC, said the dissolution funds will help support the expansion of services for the clinic.
"We need more people to do this integrated care," Pimentel said. "We are providing diversion on the primary care but this would allow us to use mobile care as a diversion as well."
Commissioners approved the transfer of funds contingent on adding a mobile crisis component to the package.
"There is a real need to integrate mobile crisis and get CHC involved in the process," Classen said. "We think this is the right way to go and it's the right partner."
In other business, commissioners:
• approved the appointment of Andy Cobb, Mike Gavin, Danielle Withrow and Keith Melton to the Rutherford County Economic Development Commission;
• approved a contract with Republic for enhanced recycling on the contingent the contract is reviewed by the county attorney;
• approved a policy change in the county's grievance personnel policy;
• approved a contract with Electronic Recyclers International, Inc. for electronic recycling;
• approved an interlocal agreement to administer a Rural Center/Department of Commerce grant for a sewer system study;
• approved hiring W.K. Dickson to conduct engineering for the sewer system study;
• approved an amended project ordinance removing $90,000 from the revenue department implementation plan;
• approved all budget amendments with the exception of $96,500 by Rutherford Rescue for equipment funding. That amendment was tabled.