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March 27, 2014
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Douglas County turns over mental health services to state

Douglas County commissioners Wednesday approved a resolution to hand over two county mental health services programs to an alliance of health care providers established by the state.

The two programs employ more than 100 county employees, though most will be offered positions through the Umpqua Health Alliance, said Kevin Campbell, CEO of Greater Oregon Behavioral Health Inc., one of the groups in the alliance.

The transition is part of a state plan that developed coordinated care organizations, such as the Umpqua Health Alliance, under state legislation passed in 2011.

The health care providers within these care organizations work together to handle physical, mental and dental health services for Oregon Health Plan patients.

The Umpqua Health Alliance, beginning July 1, will provide services for patients on Medicaid who were previously served by the county’s Community Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities programs.

Campbell said other counties throughout Oregon are turning over mental health programs to coordinated care organizations.

He said administrators will try to make the changeover as seamless as possible for patients.

The county’s human resources director, Michael Kurtz, said the employees affected by the transition have been notified. They have been invited to upcoming meetings with alliance representatives.

The alliance will determine which county employees find jobs under the new structure, Kurtz said. He added that workers aren’t guaranteed another county position.

Commissioner Susan Morgan said that consolidating services will create a more efficient system for the delivery of mental health care.

“Our mental health staff has done tremendous work over the years to assure that these critical services were well provided to the community. However, with the formation of the coordinated care organizations, new models of service delivery are emerging that will be able to further increase the effectiveness and efficiency of community health services,” Morgan said in a written statement. “I am confident that our community partners will be able to build on the solid foundation created by the county and build a model that is fully integrated with health care systems in the community.”

The Umpqua Health Alliance is made up of several health care groups, which include DCIPA, The Physicians of Douglas County; Douglas County’s Health and Human Services Department; Greater Oregon Behavioral Health, Inc.; Mercy Medical Center; Umpqua Community Health Center; ATRIO; Advantage Dental; and ADAPT, which provides substance abuse and addiction treatment and recovery services.

• Reporter Jessica Prokop can be reached at 541-957-4209 and jprokop@nrtoday.com.


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The News-Review Updated Mar 27, 2014 12:48PM Published Mar 27, 2014 08:12PM Copyright 2014 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.