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Budget crisis in mental health industry

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Caring for a disabled family member can be difficult. That is why many families depend on the government's help for programs to keep their disabled family member active. Now some of those programs are being threatened. There is a budget crisis in the mental health industry, which means some services for disabled clients could be cut in half. Today families protested against the new budget outside of RHA, a mental health facility for the disabled. There are 75 mental health organizations in our area. All of them are part of the Southeastern Center for Mental Health in Wilmington. Last year the agencies spent about twelve million dollars for mental health services, which was four million dollars over budget. Southeastern had to use its reserve funds to make up for the overspending. For the new budget year beginning July first, the Southeastern Center has to divvy up $8.3 million among its agencies. That means some jobs and programs will have to be cut. Protester Nancy Freas said, "We're just here hoping that we can have this whole program remain and everyone can have their hours and attend the program." Southeaster Center doctor Art Constantini said, "It's not so much that the budget has been cut, we've got to spend less money than what was spent last year, but the important thing are the services -- what services do you really need and how can we provide those in the most cost effective way." Officials at Southeastern say that it can cost up to $200,000 to serve at least one disabled client. Southeastern management plans to meet with each agency to find out which clients need the services the most.

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Southeastern Center service cuts

Could the state at least fund the residential settings? It's not enough of a challenge to be mentally ill and/or developmentally disabled, now the state will turn it's head and allow these folks to end up homeless? Southeastern wants the providers to look at who actually needs what services, It's Southeastern's job to approve these services, where have they been? Providers don't want to cut services, but will have to close their doors if they provide services for free. It is unreasonable and disingenuous for Southeastern to expect providers to pay staff, housing costs, etc, with no or little funding. It can't be done.

Southeastern Mental Health Center

I think a forensic audit of Southeastern Mental Health is indicated--Let's say a period spanning the past 10 years. Currently, all of my indigent and low income/no insurance patients are being denied comprehensive treatment services due to this "oversight and shortfall."

Southeastern Mental Health Center

I also wish someone would look into this mess and do something. We got lucky in that the companies who handle our extremely low functioning autistic son kept us on, but many other families weren't so fortunate. A child can regress years in development and skills when he is denied access to services. It definitely puts the child or disabled adult at serious risk of future institutionalization, which was, I thought, the very thing these programs were made to try and avoid. And another thing, why isn't this on the national news? (Or is it and I missed it?)

Our Mental Health Clients

Report them to the US DHHS so they can follow the money that previously has been issued this state, which will show a pattern of our funds being diverted, withheld, etc. Please, unit with me in this. Grandparent of a child with Pervasive Perceptual Disability, autism spectrum disorde and developmental delay. Please, pass the word...the US DHHS. Thanks.

They're not cutting the funding!

Read the article! They had a budget last year of 8 million dollars. This year they have a budget of 8.3 million dollars. Truth be told, they are receiving a $300,000 increase in funding after allowing four million dollars to vanish without authorization. Who picked up the tab for that missing 4 million dollars, and why is no one being held accountable?

Incompetent or illegal - which is it?

"Last year the agencies spent about twelve million dollars for mental health services, which was four million dollars over budget." No one overspends their budget by a full third unless there is gross incompetence or outright thievery involved. Instead of simply handing them another $8 million, the state should be investigating and identifying the guilty parties for firing and prosecution. What happened to the routine quarterly audits? Is ANYBODY accountable for ANYTHING, anymore?

PLEASE DON'T CUT THE FUNDING!!!!

Please come and express/share your concerns about the cuts in IPRS funding/developmental therapy funding that Southeastern has imposed for the new fiscal year because of their fiscal mismanagement. They keep blaming the state, but it is their mismanagement that is hurting individuals and families. About time the media got involved. If you haven't heard about the cuts its because Southeastern just recently informed the service providers. It is not the cut in state funding that was causing this since other places in NC are not experiencing these drastic cuts at all. Why aren't there consequences for those who mismanaged the funds? Someone at Southeastern should lose their jobs. What about our kids? Are we supposed to just 'get over it'? Our kids are going to be penalized because someone at Southeastern mismanaged money? How can the state deny qualified individuals services based on the errors of a few? Doesn't anyone care? Why isn't Southeastern being investigated? Also if only ten percent of those on DT are being served then staff at Southeastern should be cut to ten percent to serve the smaller population.

disability cuts

PLEASE HELP!!! I am a case manager for 21 clients that have developmental disabilites. Many of my clients and their families were told today that they would no longer be able to recieve their services due to the lacking of funding allocated by Southeastern Center to local provider agencies. Parents are in tears for fears that the progress their children have made with services will regress. People that were able to live independently with the help of services and hold jobs for the first time in their lives are now in serious jeopardy of being institutionalized. You can help by advocating for persons with disabilities. It is hard to tell a person with limited capacity to understand things we take for granted that they may very well lose the people that support them most and have been there to help them through every success or set back. Our state is better than this....You can help...please support us as we fight for our clients and their services.

why is it always the mental health

I don't understand why it is always first to cut funding from mental health. people with special needs should have all the benefits they need to belong to the community. They want to work, live and go to school. Just like everybody else. You look at programs in the past is always special needs. People aren't always born with mental issues they can get later in life, a car wreck, a fall, birth. People show up to your local community meetings get involved, write you state senators, house or reps. These people work for you or against you.Go to the local coffee shops they live in your community. People with special needs are people to. One day it might be you.

Malfeasance

How exactly did Southeastern "overspend" 4 million?? Maybe Southeastern should be investigated for misappropriation of funds instead of cutting valuable services to those who desparately need them.

See...

I don't mind WHATSOEVER my tax dollars going to something like this...what burns my rear is that LOTS of those on the welfare system are STEALING and just simply don't want to work and it takes from programs like this where people REALLY need help.