BLOOMINGTON — The McLean County Board of Health approved on Wednesday night calendar year 2020 funding for nine behavioral health programs but delayed decisions on four programs until the board's Nov. 13 meeting.

Among programs that will be voted on next month will be the costliest one: psychiatric services for adults, expected to be funded at $400,000. Board member Cory Tello and Amy Hancock, McLean County Health Department behavioral health program manager, said questions needed to be answered by each applicant for that service before the board could make a decision.

Applicants are McLean County Center for Human Services (CHS) and Chestnut Health Systems, representatives of each agency told The Pantagraph.

CHS has had the contract for years to provide psychiatric services for adults with severe and pervasive mental illness (such as schizophrenia) and severe functional impairment based on that illness. People served are on Medicaid or are uninsured or underinsured, CHS Executive Director Tom Barr said earlier Wednesday.

"We have 670 clients currently on the caseload," Barr said.

Board of Health funded the program on a monthly basis, rather than for the entire year, for the first several months of 2019 after the board was caught off guard when CHS suspended accepting new clients into its psychiatric program in December because of declining financial support from the state and United Way of McLean County.

But CHS compromised and agreed to accept 40 additional clients into its psychiatric program by the end of this year. The board, in turn, approved a contract in May with CHS for the psychiatric program for the final eight months of 2019.

Hancock said at Wednesday night's meeting that communication with CHS has improved.

"The community recognizes the important need for ongoing psychiatric services," Barr said.

After considerable discussion, the board also voted to delay until next month a proposed $20,000 to The Baby Fold for intensive family support services for 10 to 12 children and families of Ridgeview schools; $45,000 to Baby Fold for Healthy Start for 25 families; and $30,000 to Children's Home & Aid for Home Visitation for 22 families. With all three programs, some board members, led by Hannah Eisner, said they needed more information.

The board approved funding for:

  • Crisis Hotline by PATH, $42,000, expected to provide 4,000 links to services.
  • Mobile Crisis Unit by CHS, $383,253, expected to serve 850 people.
  • Problem Solving Courts by McLean County Court Services, $209,220, expected to serve 70 people.
  • Youth Suicide Prevention by Project Oz, $50,000, expected to serve 2,788 junior high and high school students.
  • Youth Substance Abuse Prevention by Project Oz, $130,000, expected to serve 1,111 students.
  • Embedded School/Community-Based Intervention, CHS, $20,000, to serve 25 students at Kingsley Junior High and Oakdale Elementary; CHS, $20,000, to serve 23 students at Olympia schools in Danvers and Stanford; CHS, $20,000, to serve 25 students at Parkside Junior High and Fox Creek Elementary; and Chestnut, $20,000, to serve 15 to 20 students at Fairview and Sugar Creek Elementary.

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Contact Paul Swiech at (309) 820-3275. Follow him on Twitter: @pg_swiech


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