Riley County Commission February 26, 2018
Observer, Joan Strickler
Commissioners Rodriguez, Wells and Wilson present, Rodriguez chair.
Commissioner Wells said he recently attended a screening of the movie “Objects in the Mirror”. The film was made in Manhattan with much of it filmed in the Riley County Courthouse. He said the courtroom looked beautiful and he was very impressed with the quality of the movie.
The Director of Pawnee Mental Health Services, Robbin Cole, spoke of efforts to create a mental health stabilization unit in this area. The Pawnee service area has experienced an overall 22 % increase in demand for crisis services with a 25% increase occurring in Manhattan.
According to the Association of Community Mental Health Centers of Kansas, Inc., reductions in State psychiatric inpatient budgets, coupled with funding reductions in Mental Health Reform dollars, have resulted in Kansas’ system reaching a crisis. More than half of those who present for treatment at mental health centers have no insurance. Expansion of Medicaid, however, would provide coverage for persons who have a mental illness. For those who do have Medicaid coverage but wind up in jail, they lose their coverage. At this time Kansas law does not allow for suspension of Medicaid eligibility to be reinstated upon release from prison.
A major difficulty at this time is finding funding to create the mental health stabilization unit required to avoid the need for inappropriate incarceration of persons with mental illness.