Thursday, July 01, 2010

SMC LME Divests all Clinical Services to Appalachian Counseling While Meridian Glowers in the Corner: Revolving Door Mental Health Services R Us

You can make your own comment at the Asheville Citizen Times:

Mental health providers change in far west WNC

drhammond wrote:

"With the complete divestment of Smoky Mountain Center (SMC) LME of clinical services, is fully realized the original intention of NC Mental Health Reform as re: western NC. Government has effectively been ‘drowned.’ Oh, I forgot: consumer 'choice' was at the top of the original ‘want it’ list (got dumped years ago).

Doug Trantham, the excellent Director of Clinical Services while at SMC LME, as well as all the nurse practitioners & psychiatrists at The Balsam Center, are now employees of Appalachian Counseling: a revolving door. My clients had to sign waivers to have paperwork transferred from one pile to the other pile.

As was predicted, the bigger fish, in this case Appalachian Counseling, have simply outbid and (temporarily?) swallowed the smaller fish. Chaos reigns and capitalism, in an industry full of non-insured citizens, succeeds (?!). Soon, someone will outbid them & paperwork will again transfer.

Marsha V. Hammond, PhD "
The article:

Jim Pitts, president of the local and state chapters of the National Alliance for Mental Illness, said Smoky had a good reputation and hopes the services it provided will continue.

“I'd say patients and the public ought to be concerned when there is no public provider,” he said. “The private providers do well under the state regulations … but without the regulations they will drop services that aren't paying for themselves.”

The move from Smoky to Appalachian and Haywood Regional is in line with the state's newest regulations that seek to have mental health services provided by fewer, larger providers, said Brian Ingraham, CEO of Smoky Mountain Center.

“We understand that this is going to be a long-term relationship and a commitment to sustain these services,” Ingraham said. “We are not going to let it fail.”

My additional comment to the article at the Citizen Times:

"And so how is Mr. Ingram of SMC LME going to keep other businesses from under-bidding Appalachian Counseling? That would be called favoritism, wouldn't it? And since we're adhering to a capitalistic model where 'efficiency' and 'cost' trumps all else, that would call for a lawsuit associated w/ anti-trust violation issues. The agency that is now handling The Balsam Center simply outbid the other company, which was Meridian, which spun out of the administration of Smoky Mountain Center 10 years ago: another revolving door.

Best I can tell, whomever sits in the driver's seat simply glad-handed better than the other guys. God knows what 'glad-handing' is associated with (makes me want to pull the sheet over my head). Mental Health consumers and providers would do well do look at the bidding process which allowed Appalachian Counseling to trump Meridian. A FOIA request is on its way. Marsha V. Hammond, PhD NC Mental Health Reform :"


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