Saturday, December 27, 2008

New River's continuous cash flow unable to meet mental health needs: Is outpatient psychotherapy even a viable entity under NC Mental Health Reform?

I'm missing something here: how is it that a 'continuous cash flow' is supposed to save money or make services more efficient? Indeed, New River Behavioral Health, chosen in order to see if utilizing a 'continuous cash flow' would be beneficial, appears to be crashing:


"......"It's almost impossible to break even on the cost of the basic outpatient services," said Pam Andrews, the chief executive of New River. The agency operates in Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Iredell, McDowell, Surry, Yadkin, Watauga and Wilkes counties......New River's financing model was meant to ensure a continuous cash flow to provide all the mental-health services in the mountain counties...."

New River mental-health service reports a big loss
New financing model runs into problem as client base grows, strains budget

By Sherry Youngquist


Published: December 27, 2008

BOONE - More than a year ago, New River Behavioral Healthcare began experimenting with a financing model that some hoped might solve part of the puzzle surrounding North Carolina's mental-health-care crisis.

But now New River, one of two public providers of mental-health care in the state, is reporting an operating loss of more than $1.5 million.

State officials say that it's still too soon to say whether the model will work. Three to five years are probably needed to see how successful New River can be, said Dick Oliver, a spokesman for the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

"They will have to watch their costs," he said.

New River's financing model was meant to ensure a continuous cash flow to provide all the mental-health services in the mountain counties. The agency, which is based in Boone, provides a comprehensive list of services, including substance-abuse treatment, family therapy and day treatment programs for the chronically mentally ill.

The idea behind the financing model was to spread the money around. Where one service, such as psychiatric care, lost money, others wouldn't.

But reimbursements did not equal the true cost of care, no matter how hard New River tried, officials say.

The loss was covered by New River's fund-balance reserves....."

Pretty much the level of dysfunction currently associated w/ this LME can be summarized as associated w/ their web page. You can get information on what numbers to call should you have a psychiatric emergency, but there is no information on available providers or what services are available.

Community Care for the Changing TImes

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