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Southeastern Healthcare's budget crisis continues

The Southeastern Center for Mental Health's budget crisis continues. This time the State Department of Health and Human services may be getting involved. State Senator Julia Boseman told NewsChannel 3 exclusively that DHHS will take control over Southeastern Healthcare's finances. She says this is the first time the state has ever had to do something like this. Senator Boseman says DHHS will start looking for an administrator to oversee Southeastern's finances and operations. This comes after Boseman submitted a letter requesting an audit of the clinic's money problems. Last year Southeastern spent $12 million on health related services for their disabled patients. That was $4 million over budget. This year's budget is $8.3 million. As a result some of its programs may have to be cut. Southeastern is awaiting word on whether it will get $5 million back from the county. That money would have built a joint facitly with the New Hanover County Health Department on Medical Center Drive. If they get that money back, Southeastern will be able to maintain it's services for the rest of the year. A Department of Health and Human Services representative told us over the phone that no formal decisions of announcements have been made, though they are considering several options for oversight of Southeastern Center for Mental Health. Earlier this month, State Representative Carolyn Justice and a number of fellow legislators wrote a letter to DHHS earlier this month, asking for the state to take a closer look at Southeastern's problems. Representative Justice told us Tuesday afternoon she had not heard about this latest development.

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