TRAVERSE CITY – A contract offering psychological well being companies to the Grand Traverse County Jail expired on the finish of December, leaving inmates with out two specialists who’ve labored there for about two years.
The $ 163,000 contract is with Northern Lakes Group Psychological Well being and negotiations have hit a snag, Sheriff Tom Bensley mentioned.
Bensley mentioned CMH needs to proceed its present program, which is modeled after one utilized in Harris County, Texas, and affords remedy and abilities growth in a bunch setting. It’s utterly voluntary and have to be requested by those that need companies.
However that program would not attain sufficient inmates, based on a July examine by NCCHC Sources. This system can be not preferrred for the scale and format of the Grand Traverse jail, which is far smaller than the Harris County jail, Bensley mentioned.
“We try to place a sq. peg in a spherical gap with this program,” Bensley mentioned. “That’s unlucky as a result of I feel there’s a want, however we can not drive the prisoners to do that.”
Joanie Blamer, CMH’s inhabitants director for psychological well being companies, mentioned she is working with Bensley and others to create a program that’s higher suited to the wants of the jail.
“We’re negotiating companies to incorporate reaching extra inmates,” Blamer mentioned. “We wish to see extra individuals served, in order that has been our focus: how can we attain extra individuals?”
As a part of the now expired contract, CMH offered a behavioral well being specialist and a peer assist specialist for the jail, every of whom labored 40 hours per week. Neither of them now works in jail for the reason that contract expired.
A gathering is scheduled for subsequent week to proceed negotiations.
The county can be working with Michigan-based Kona Medical Consulting to seek out alternate options to the way in which companies at the moment are supplied. Whether or not the county goes in one other path for psychological well being companies is a choice that Bensley will finally make, County Administrator Nate Alger mentioned.
“What the guide needed to supply when it comes to substitute for that contract was encouraging,” Alger mentioned, though no motion has been taken.
Blamer mentioned he was unaware that the county had employed a guide.
The examine from NCHHC Sources, which supplies consulting companies for correctional well being care techniques, was commissioned by the jail for a couple of 12 months. The county paid $ 24,600 for the examine, which was prompted by complaints from some former inmates and their households.
The corporate visited the jail in July and, amongst different points, discovered that psychological well being companies had been extremely centered and fragmented, with a disconnect between CMH professionals and a psychiatrist offered beneath the Wellpath medical program on the jail. The examine additionally discovered an absence of documentation, with disorganized and incomplete paper medical data and proof that psychological well being companies will not be offered.
Moreover, psychological well being evaluations which are imagined to be accomplished on all inmates admitted to the jail will not be being carried out, remedy planning is missing, and about half of inmates assigned to the psychological well being case pool have had no contact. with the CMH specialists, the examine discovered.
A discharge planning program is strong, based on the examine, however it’s based mostly on self-referrals, and lots of inmates don’t obtain the essential service.
Blamer mentioned he disagrees with most of the examine’s outcomes.
“The report isn’t correct in some ways,” Blamer mentioned. “The truth is that they spent lower than 10 minutes with our employees and so they drew these conclusions.”
Blamer agrees that extra individuals may very well be reached in jail and CMH now affords companies that will display extra inmates and develop plans that present ongoing care.
“We’re right here to face up for what’s finest for the inmate,” Blamer mentioned.
Bensley mentioned a part of the issue with not reaching sufficient inmates is the design of the jail, as these in this system have to be separated. One other downside is that the jail can not combine inmates with completely different safety classifications, he mentioned.
The jail has 168 beds, though that quantity is usually lowered by rankings and now by COVID-19, which requires some inmates to be remoted.
Blamer mentioned that when this system was first launched, two cell blocks had been in use, one that would maintain 12 males and one for ladies. That later modified to a single cell that may maintain as much as six male prisoners.
“We didn’t have the curiosity of the feminine inhabitants,” Blamer mentioned.
An inmate in jail should request psychological well being companies, he mentioned. When this system was launched, it was supposed to incorporate a psychological well being survey that’s given to every inmate; Blamer mentioned the ballot by no means got here to fruition.
Bensley mentioned he would not know why it by no means began.
Some suggestions from the NCCHC Sources examine are that each one psychological well being companies have to be offered beneath one authority and should comply with NCCHC requirements for issues like assigning tasks, finishing assessments, discharge planning, and extra.
The requirement that each one inmates in a bunch program be housed in a cell ought to be dropped, based on the examine, and the county ought to undertake an digital well being report system to retailer and preserve data organized and accessible to all who present care.
The jail also needs to do a psychological post-mortem of all suicides, one thing that’s an trade customary however was not accomplished in two suicides the examine analyzed.
For the reason that contract expired, CMH has been offering companies for inmates in psychological well being disaster beneath an enabling settlement that has been in impact between CMH and the six counties it serves since 2003. The settlement permits CMH to make use of Medicaid to supply behavioral well being companies, with county funds used to pay the required equal to Medicaid and the state of Michigan.
Grand Traverse County pays CMH $ 682,000 per 12 months beneath that settlement.
“We consider that the cost entitles us to obtain a few of this care in our prisons,” Alger mentioned.
He mentioned the guide has reviewed the $ 163,000 contract and mentioned he might do higher. Choices embody offering a stage of care from incarceration to post-incarceration by having a number of contracts with varied native suppliers.
“We simply must know which method the sheriff needs to go and we are able to go from there,” Alger mentioned. “The sheriff needs to do it proper and is making an attempt to work with CMH to do it.”
Bensley mentioned the jail might resolve to comply with the guide’s suggestions, it might have Wellpath present psychological well being companies, or it might stick with CMH.
“It will be good to proceed working with CMH,” Bensley mentioned. “They know us and we all know them. There may be a lot to discover. Sadly, it’s taking time. “
Blamer mentioned he’s very supportive of the jail and the work they’re doing to attempt to enhance companies.
“Regardless of the challenges, we’re nonetheless working collectively to determine what the psychological well being wants are and the way they’re finest met,” he mentioned.