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Mental Health Panels Report To County Board

Tue, 10 Jun 2014 23:34:51 CDT
By: Charlie Schlenker

Mental Health Panels Report To County Board (Panel Chairs John McIntire and Sonny O'Connor)

Two committees looking at area mental health service needs and best practices have a long list of recommendations for McLean County Government. During a briefing of the County Board Executive Committee, Board Member and subcommittee Vice Chair Erik Rankin said there is a huge need for better coordination of services.

Another panel vice Chair Susan Shaffer says one way to improve is to unify medical record keeping and make it available to all agencies that deliver services....

Shaffer notes this is a coming requirement of the Affordable Care Act. And John McIntire, who chaired the needs assessment panel, says the mentally ill in McLean County should have better access to medication and treatment.

Sonny O'Connor chaired the best practices panel and says many communities that deliver quality mental health services have well coordinated and integrated structures, blending funding, shared administration, and data systems...AND a Convenor.

The needs assessment panel also identified a lack of programs to help young people with mental illnesses. Proposals to expand mental health services at the jail and a crisis program remain under development by other parts of County government. County Board Chair Matt Sorenson says a new panel he will name will turn the recommendations into policy proposals. Sonny O'Connor says now comes the tough part, making sure the results do not gather dust.

In many places in which mental health services are delivered efficiently, O'Connor says, programs are supported by local taxpayer dollars through County Boards. McLean County Board Chairman Matt Sorenson says the next step in finding solutions to problems of mental healthcare delivery in the area is to create a committee to generate an action plan.

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