About the Behavioral Health Department
The Behavioral Health Department responsibility is to plan for and provide high quality consumer centered and family friendly, prevention, education and clinical services to the residents of Colusa County while making access to services easier, producing more effective, better outcomes and reducing the need for out-of-home and institutional care.
Significant Accomplishments for Fiscal Year 2022-23:
- The need for therapeutic services post covid has been extreme. Every direct service unit is seeing additional requests for services from the community. All clinical services start with an intake assessment by a clinician who determines if a diagnosis is present and develops a treatment plan to be followed by other lower-level provider staff. Even though we increased the number of Therapist positions in the department in fiscal year 2022/2023 we currently have 5 Therapist positions vacant and we have under filled two other Therapist positions with Mental Health Specialists.
- The department was successful in extending the MHSA-Innovation PATH project from a three-year project to a five-year project with the funding necessary to support the extension and support a probation officer dedicated to the PATH team. This program has currently assisted more than 25 consumers who have been part of the justice system.
In FY 22/23 BH opened Bright Vista Youth Center which provides youth ages 12-17 a safe, supportive, and structured place to be themselves. Staff provide various activities and workshops to enhance social, coping and leadership skills and help prepare them for independent living. We currently have 53 youth signed up at Bright Vista.
In FY 22/23 BH established a new space and furniture for a County operated Wellness Center-Safe Haven and developed an organizational structure, policies, and programs to serve the membership. This is a peer supported drop-in center that serves adults and older adults who are in recovery from substance abuse, dealing with mental health issues, and or avoiding isolation. The center provides a number of recovery and resiliency focused groups run by peers and Behavioral Health staff. We currently have 109 consumers signed up at Safe Haven.
In FY 22/23 the County purchased a home in Williams to be opened as an Adult Residential Facility (ARF) and a nine-bed use permit was obtained from the city. This home was remodeled in FY 22/23 and the final walkthrough of the new facility was conducted on May 3, 2023. The RFP will be released as soon as possible.
The Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) in Sacramento has finalized a Medi-Cal renewal waiver with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid in Washington DC known as CALAIM. The department has contracted with CalMHSA and we will go live with our new electronic health records system call Smart Care on July 1st. The department has also submitted the new CalAIM reimbursement rates for our department in which the State has already approved.
BH has secured a grant and contract with the Oversight and Accountability Commission to provide school-based services to all four districts within the County. A primary goal in FY 22/23 was to hire and train five allocated staff and deploy them out to the districts to begin providing student and family services by the fall of 2022. This program has been fully staffed and currently has 48 consumers and has already received over 60 referrals.
In FY 22/23 BH will attempt to find the correct balance between investing revenue in community programing and at the same time being fiscally prudent in spending down allocated revenues. It is critical that the Department serve the needs of the community, yet it is equally important to assure that every program has the sustainable income to fiscally support the program without interruption. The goal for FY 22/23 will be to closely scrutinize all the accounts with the Department to keep a healthy reserve but also to address the needs that are clearly on the table. This process is still ongoing.
The department successfully improved our main facility by providing new paint and flooring throughout most of the building.
In FY 22/23 BH also implemented Learning Wellness at the Library a Prevention and Early Intervention program designed to decrease stigma associated with mental illness and provide educational opportunities to enhance community knowledge of mental illness, substance use disorders and social justice issues.
Goals & Objectives for Fiscal Year 2023-24:
- Improve department infrastructure and oversight. Our department has historically relied on the director, deputy directors, and clinical program managers to administer and operate the department. With the expansion of direct treatment providers, there has been increased supervisory and administrative dependence on clinical program managers. We need to create and develop mid-level supervisors and coordinators. It is our intent to hire two Therapist III positions to provide direct clinical supervision of our clinical line staff. It is also our intent to hire an additional Quality Assurance Coordinator to meet regulatory requirements of our Drug Medi-Cal treatment program.
Begin operations of our Adult Residential Treatment facility. The remodel of the facility is complete. We are now in the process of releasing a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a provider to manage the day-to-day operations and oversight of the facility. We plan to have the facility operating at capacity by the mid-year budget review.
Develop and implement recruitment and retention programming. Adopt policy and gain BOS approval to implement a sign-on bonus program to attract, recruit, and retain hard to fill mental health therapists to become public service employees. If approved, the California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA) will administer this benefit in the same fashion they administer the Loan Repayment Program. The department would also like to team up with CalMHSA & Palo Alto University for professional growth opportunities. If approved, BH would like to offer financial assistance to current employees looking to further develop their professional growth by completing a 2-year Master’s in a Counseling degree program at Palo Alto University with an agreement to remain employed with county following matriculation.
Increase presence on the west side of the county. Explore Westside Wellness Center opportunities and utilize Opioid Settlement funds to target the Williams and Arbuckle areas in the promotion of substance use disorder prevention.
Increase housing availability for behavioral health consumers with serious mental illness. In partnership with Colusa County HHS, we applied for Behavioral Health Bridge Housing funds. If awarded and accepted by our BOS, funds will be used to purchase transitional housing, provide rental assistance, and provide emergency shelter.
Implement new Electronic Health Record (EHR). Implementation will begin this fiscal year and will continue into the new fiscal year.
Implement all aspects of Medi-Cal payment reform. County behavioral health systems across the state will move to Intergovernmental Transfer (IGT) payment reimbursement.
Summary of Major Budget Changes:
- BH has requested two additional positions for the administrative branch and seven additional positions for the clinical branch of the department.
The MHSA funds are expected to have one-time growth funds of 133% of our normal allocation in FY 23/24.
The department budgeted for the first year construction costs for the Westside Wellness Center in anticipation of Board approval.
The department budgeted for the start-up costs of a mobile crisis unit that is being mandated by the State.
The department allocated additional MHSA-CSS funds to our Full Service Partnership program that is offered to consumers.
The department budgeted for employee recruitment and retention activities in our MHSA-Workforce Education fund.