BOS shows support for CCMH BHU


August 18th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors have sent a letter to the County Board of Health, in support of the Behavioral Health Unit (BHU) at the Cass County Memorial Hospital. The BHU employees 21-people.

The facility, which serves the mental health needs of patients in Cass and other counties, is in danger of closing, because, according to officials, since CCMH became a critical access care facility, in-patient behavioral services have become a financial burden. Unlike other services the hospital provides, the costs to care for mental health clients, especially those who come from outside of Cass County, are not reimbursed on a cost-basis. Last year, the unit lost $500,000 in un-reimbursed costs.

During Wednesday’s meeting in Atlantic, Cass County Supervisor Chuck Rieken read a portion of the letter that‘s been mailed to the Board of Health. Rieken said “It is the Cass County Board of Supervisors position and belief that the behavioral unit is an indispensable part of this community but by providing necessary mental health services to those residents in Cass County as well as others who reside or who are placed here in various residential care facilities.”

Rieken and the other Supervisors have said many people are very much in favor of the facility staying in Cass County. He said the current BHU is highly efficient. The average stay for a mental health client at the facility is approximately seven days, or about four-days less than at other, similar facilities.

Supervisor Mark Wedemeyer, said he’s been asked why the BHU should be kept in Cass County. He says because in the long-run, it will save the County money. If it were to close, the county would have to send it’s clients to one of a handful of other such facilities in the State.

The Board of Health is scheduled to make a decision on the matter at a future meeting.