Thursday, February 19, 2009

AMHC Troubles

A regional mental health agency in northeastern North Carolina is holding up travel reimbursements and delaying employee pension payments as it attempts to reign in its runaway budget. Dick Oliver, the state-appointed temporary director of the Albemarle Mental Health Center, confirmed Monday that the agency delayed $20,000 in travel reimbursements and $14,000 in payments to employee 401k plans. Both are examples of drastic measures the agency had to enact, he said.“That should never happen,” Oliver said. Cash flow problems are one of the reasons the AMHC Board of Directors voted Jan. 14 to turn the agency over to the state’s Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services.

The board’s decision followed the revelation in a state audit that AMHC was teetering on the brink of financial insolvency. Oliver said Tuesday the first indication that AMHC is recovering would be paying staff salary and benefits. Those items will be paid by the end of this month, he said. “We’ll struggle a little bit in March just as we did in February,” Oliver said. “I think that (struggling) will happen for two or three more months before we get out of this situation.” Payments to private service providers will be the next big step, he said. Many providers haven’t been paid in months and the total owed could be in the millions of dollars.
(Reggie Ponder, THE DAILY ADVANCE, 2/17/09)


Marsha V. Hammond, PhD said...

No payments to 401K accounts? Tough. How about no payments for mental health services provided? How about Value Options still constantly shifting criteria for Community Support Services such that clients have the rug pulled out from under them?----8 hours/ week to 1 hour/ week. Diminished payment of most every private non-psychiatrist provider in the state of NC is what has been taking place for the past 5 years.

I say suck it up, LME employees. And hey: guess what: you still have to pretend you're doing your jobs. But the mental health providers fully well realize that we can never get you on the phone and you don't answer your e mails.

Marsha V. Hammond, PhD: Clinical Licensed Psychologist, Asheville/ Waynesville, NC

NC mental health reform blogspot w/ most recent post re: shenanigans at the Family Care Homes in NC: where the homeless are stored and the Community Support Services are hit and miss :

Jack Register, MSW, LCSW said...

Dr. Hammond:

Thanks for your response to our blog. We would love to have a clinician from Asheville involved in the Coalition work we do. I know that my counterpart in psychology, Sally Cameron from NCPA, would be happy to discuss some volunteer opportunitites with you. Is it ok for me to pass your name on?