|Bob Greenburg, director of Four Corners Behavioral Health speaks at the public hearing.|
A public hearing was held to discuss Four Corners Behavioral Health and to give the public a chance to comment on programs available at Four Corners.
Four Corners Director Bob Greenburg answered questions from the public and the Emery County commissioners. Greenburg began by introducing his staff and thanking the commission for their support of mental health and substance abuse programs in the county. Greenburg said Four Corners has quality services available.
Commissioner Gary Kofford now sits on the Four Corners board as a voting member due to a change from last years legislative session.
Greenburg is concerned with the financial situation of Four Corners. Last year they lost $60,000 in funding. The lost funding has changed the face of mental health services. They have to use Medicaid money as much as possible. They are less able to subsidize services for the under insured or those with no insurance. Greenburg said he feels there are those falling through the cracks due to this lack of funding and not having the resources to serve people not on Medicaid.
We have had to tighten services and its not a good situation. We have had to turn people away. The drug court is a good program and we are at the end of a three year grant cycle with the state. Emery County drug court has the best results of any in the state.
The budget year ends on July 1 and by May 1 we need our plan in place. The start of this process for the plan is asking for public comments and to assess what needs there are. This is the start of the planning process for the May 1 budget, said Greenburg.
Commissioner Ira Hatch expressed his concern over the dropping budget for Four Corners. He said Commissioner Kofford is on a committee through UAC and through UBAN and these groups are putting great effort into appealing for funding.
Delena Fish, workforce services director expressed her concern with the lack of funding. After 24 months on state services, then services are no longer available to individuals and they may still be in need. Some of these individuals are in need of counseling services and dont qualify for existing programs and dont get the help they need.
Commissioner Hatch said it is important to break the cycle and help people get going in the right direction and give families the help they need.
An audience member said she was very appreciative of the services available and they wouldnt have survived without them when a family member became mentally ill. It was a long process and it took three years to get him into the hospital and get him the help he needed. The agencies need to work together to fill in the gaps. It is a difficult thing but, he has received good quality care. I want to commend the people who have helped him, said the citizen.
Jack and Diane Butler said they are LDS service missionaries and operate a 12 step program They meet on Thursdays at 7 p.m. at the Emery High Seminary.
Diane said they have about 24 people coming to the meetings in Price, but the attendance in Castle Dale has been low. Butler wondered if there is any funding available to help with funds for people getting out of jail. The fines are atrocious and when the people are just getting a job and trying to reconnect back into society. There is no way for them to get out of the hole theyve dug for themselves.
The citizen said her son had to enter the court system before they could receive any help and he has spent three years trying to pay back fines and it is a huge problem.
Jack said he believes the addict should be treated the same way as someone with any illness, like diabetics or anything else. They are not criminals they are addicts. But, the way the system is set up it makes criminals out of them. If you had a kid with liver disease would you kick him out? A drunk can quit drinking, but an addict has to have it to feel normal. These people are in pain and cant function. It is a sad situation, but they are not criminal.
Commissioner Kofford said things will only get worse with the budgets cut substantially. He believes money should be spent up front for treatments and programs and not on the court and jail systems.
But, help people before it gets to that point. There is no one listening or addressing problems. The county only has the funds to do what its mandated to do, said Kofford.
The Castle Dale office of Four Corners received the best audit of the four county area. Kofford complimented Greenburg and his staff on the job they are doing.
Greenburg said the criminalization of the mentally ill is a scandal and its the same with drugs. There is no law to force substance abusers into treatment. Many people with treatment can become employable.
If the DCFS becomes involved in taking children out of the home, some of the money people make goes to pay for the children being in custody. These families need treatment and funding.
It was mentioned that two days a week a counselor is in Green River at the medical center to provide mental health services to Green River residents.
Funding is available in Green River where non-Medicaid people can get free services. There is better access to free services in Green River than in Castle Dale.
Jake Barnett who works for DCFS put in a plea to the commission to obtain the alcohol bracelets to detect people using alcohol.
Kofford said it is a good program, but for people who are already financially strapped the added $5 a day cost of the bracelet monitoring could be too much and other avenues to fund the bracelets need to be addressed.
Barnett said children are removed from a home because of drinking and abusive situations and if they cant prove the parents are still drinking the children are returned to the home.
Monitoring bracelets are more effective in catching those abusing alcohol and causing an unsafe and unstable environment for their children.
The bracelets are $1,500 and the company that makes them gets $4.50 a day for the days they are worn.
County Attorney David Blackwell said his office is willing to work with the courts and help with fines. They can set up payment plans for fines and also forgive portions of fines if the person is diligent in making payments.
Jack Butler also wondered if there are retired doctors and nurses who would volunteer to do some counseling to reduce costs for patients.
Commissioner Hatch suggested forming a committee to address issues and give ideas. There is a huge problem across the board and its all related to breaking that cycle. Greenburg said they have a graduate student who does volunteer work in the Castle Dale office.