Mental health services extended for AllCare patients in Jackson County

Medford, Ore. — Jackson County and AllCare have agreed to continue certain mental health services through the county while AllCare transitions it’s patients to Options for Southern Oregon. NBC5 News first told you in January, that AllCare would not be renewing it’s $13-million dollar contract with Jackson County Health & Human Services. The current contract expires April 1, 2017. But with a vote Wednesday morning, certain services will be accessible for patients through the end of June.

“We’re very excited to partner with the county and any other stakeholders that might want to be able to make sure that we’re working to smooth this transition for folks,” Josh Balloch of AllCare Health says.

Jackson County commissioners approved two agreements Wednesday to continue providing mental health services to AllCare clients. The only caveat is if the county has the capacity.

“We’re losing employees by the day,” Jackson County Commissioner Rick Dyer says, “I think we’re up to about 113 that have resigned, so our capacity is being diminished. But we’ll offer those services for as long as we can during that 90-day transition period.”

The agreements are as follows: one puts in place a 3 month fee-for-service contract, allowing current patients to continue receiving outpatient services- like counseling- through Jackson County mental health. The other, will continue a contract for crisis mental health services from the county through June 30th of 2018.

“We were always planning on continuing working with the county at some level,” Balloch says, “it’s just that theres on this outpatient side we’re transitioning a way from the county delivering the services to Options and more independent providers in the community delivering those services.”

AllCare says the move to Options for Southern Oregon will expand access, but Jackson County officials say change can come at a cost for a vulnerable population.

“Be it there primary care physician, a building location, a change in their therapist, case manger I think those are all potentials to have some of these folks potentially decompensate and likely end up in higher levels of care so we’re very concerned about that,” Mark Orndoff, Director of Jackson County HHS says.

“Those people who actually are needing services need to be able to have access to those services and that was the main reason if not the only reason for this transition,” Balloch says.

According to Orndoff, the current plan is to transition over 400 AllCare members in April, 250 in May, and about 300 in June.

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