Mental Health Board discusses mobile program, Medicaid waiver

Published 4:27 pm Monday, May 24, 2010

The Polk County Mental Health Advisory Board (MHAB) recently invited Don Herring, clinical director of Western Highlands Network, and Kyra Brobst of Families Together, Inc. to speak on mental health issues relating to Polk County. The Advisory Board is charged with helping to assess Polks capabilities for mental health support and treatment and making appropriate recommendations to the County Commission.

At the April meeting of the board, Brobst discussed the Mobile Crisis Management Program. Available in Polk County, this program provides on-site support and treatment to prevent hospitalization or out-of-home placement. Anyone who is in crisis as a result of mental illness, substance abuse or a developmental disability can call 1-888-573-1006. If this program cannot help in a particular case, advice will be given on where to turn for help.&bsp; Although it has not been used frequently yet in Polk County, when called upon this program has proven to be a benefit to all involved.

At a special meeting in May arranged by the MHAB, Don Herring of the Western Highlands Network led a discussion about a Medicaid Waiver proposal which could impact Polk County. A broader community group attended including Mental Health Advisory Board members; Cindy Walker, a board member as well as Polk County commission chair; County Commissioner Renee McDermott, County Manager Ryan Whitson and representatives of various local mental health providers. They discussed the advantages, disadvantages and impact on Polk Countys mental health services if the proposed waiver were adopted. After consideration the consensus was that the proposed waiver would provide more benefits to Polk County. The state will decide in the next couple of weeks if Western Highlands Network, which includes Polk County, gets the Medicaid Waiver.

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In June the Advisory Board has planned a site visit to Pavillion, a center for the treatment of alcoholism and other drug addictions. In the future the Polk County Mental Health Advisory Board will visit other facilities and invite speakers who will continue to increase the breadth and depth of the boards knowledge in an effort to provide the best mental health care for Polk County residents