Post last updated at 11:06 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 14:
Behavioral Health Partners Inc. has decided to withdraw from consideration to operate the Douglas County Treatment and Recovery Center, board member Nancy Thellman told the Douglas County Commission Wednesday.
The board “instead puts its full faith and support behind the county directly entering into operating and lease agreements with the Bert Nash center,” Thellman said.
Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center is now preparing to take the reins for the center, CEO Patrick Schmitz told the commission.
“We have revised our current electronic health record implementation project to incorporate the services at the TRC towards full implementation in May,” Schmitz said. “We have initiated the transition of all TRC-dedicated LMH staff over to Bert Nash.”
Behavioral Health Partners Inc. was established in 2020 by LMH Health and Bert Nash as a nonprofit organization to manage and operate the TRC. In recent months, it has been in question whether the BHP would manage the center — or the out-of-state, for-profit management company Connections Health Solutions.
A ribbon-cutting for the TRC took place several months ago, but the center has yet to open its doors. County Administrator Sarah Plinsky said in October a contractual agreement with BHP specified the TRC would open its doors by July 1. That deadline and others, however, were missed.
Commission Chair Shannon Reid asked about Connections Wednesday night. She asked Schmitz to address what kind of conversations, if any, and what consultations had occurred with Connections recently.
Schmitz said his understanding of what Connections wanted to do going forward was different from what he’d heard from others, and they have a call scheduled on Friday to discuss details. But he said Bert Nash is not opposed to consultants.
“We hire them all the time. We know we are not the experts in everything. We know when we need some help, and when there’s value to that, and so we’re absolutely interested in having the conversation,” he said.
Commissioner Patrick Kelly asked Schmitz who was now ultimately responsible for the TRC.
“If you agree to this shift, it’s me,” Schmitz said. “… Ultimately, the responsibility would land on my shoulders.”
Thellman’s announcement came at the tail end of a long presentation from TRC staff. Commissioners heard details about staffing, training, finance, electronic medical records, pharmacy, facilities, insurance policies and more at the center from several staff members. The full recording of the meeting will be uploaded to the county’s YouTube page.
Commissioner Karen Willey said that of all the conversations about the TRC she’s sat in on, Wednesday’s was “the most hopeful by far.”
She said she asked numerous questions and she knows she’ll have more, but “I just really appreciate that we’re starting to kind of see some light in the process, and thank you for bringing that.”
Commissioners did not have any items to vote on in connection with the TRC presentation.
In other business, commissioners approved $153,000 in additional funding for a county partnership with DCCCA and LMH Health. The extension will fund peer-led substance abuse intervention services, called social detox, in the LMH Health Emergency Department from January to June 2023.
Typically, a social detox treatment plan limits services to counseling, therapy and monitoring for people experiencing addiction. Medical detox, on the other hand, requires close supervision and monitoring due to its risks; if necessary, it offers medication to help with withdrawal.