WEATHER IN LINCOLN COUNTY

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Getting a better handle on mental health services in Lincoln County


Meeting to discuss Behavioral Health restructuring, Detox opening

A joint public meeting of Lincoln County’s two State-mandated behavioral health advisory committees on Thursday [July 5] will feature a presentation and discussion of a Lincoln County Department of Health and Human Services’ proposal for a major restructuring of its mental health and addiction treatment programs.

The department has been under intense criticism in recent months due to a critical outside consultants’ evaluation of the department that was ordered by the Board of County Commissioners, the firing of HHS director Cheryl Connell, and the abrupt layoff of a dozen mental health and addiction counselors amid what many people perceive to be a serious mental health and addiction crisis in the county.

Surface Rescue

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Interim Lincoln County HHS Director Rebecca Austen announced in an email on June 21 to HHS staff, that the head of the department’s Behavioral Health Division, Barbara Turrill, has announced her retirement, and a new post of Deputy Behavioral Health Director has since been created and filled by former County Developmental Disabilities Services Director Carolyn Fry.

Austen also revealed an outline of the department’s new plan to put County mental health and addiction services under the Federally Qualified Health Services Division and its Executive Director, Rebecca McBee-Wilson, who has administrative experience in the behavioral health field and credentials as both a mental health and addiction counselor.

Fry, the new Deputy Behavioral Health Director, will present details of the new plan and answer questions during Thursday’s Combined Meeting of the Mental Health Advisory Committee and the Addiction Prevention and Recovery Committee (aka Local Alcohol and Drug Planning Committee) from Noon to 2:00 p.m. in Conference Room 207 at the Lincoln County Department of Health and Human Services Administrative Headquarters in the Western Title Building, 255 Hwy 101 S, in Newport.

The Special Presentation is entitled “Lincoln County Behavioral Health: Challenges and Direction Going Forward.”

New Detox Facility

Immediately following the combined meeting, at 2:15 p.m. in Conference Room 207, there will be a special meeting of the addiction advisory committee to fulfill a State requirement that it review the proposed program of a new alcohol and drug detox facility that was scheduled to begin offering services on a limited basis on Sunday, July 1 in the Otis area north of Lincoln City.

Chandler Davis, acting chair of the mental health committee and chair of the addiction committee said in an announcement on Thursday, June 28: “There will be a brief Special Meeting of the Addiction Prevention and Recovery Committee (aka Local Alcohol and Drug Planning Committee) to fulfill the committee’s State-mandated responsibility to review the plan for a community-accessible detox center in Lincoln City.

“The director of the Powerhouse Treatment organization will be on hand to present the program plan, answer questions, and address any concerns that committee members may have… [committee members] are strongly encouraged to attend so that we can fulfill our State obligation fully and can also, hopefully, offer our full support and assistance to this desperately needed element in Lincoln County’s behavioral health continuum of care.”

Davis said both of Thursday’s meetings will be open to the public and all interested parties are encouraged to attend.

The Western Title Building is just south of Newport City Hall on the east side of Highway 101. For further information, contact Lauri Snow, 541- 265-0441 at Lincoln County Department of Health and Human Services or Davis at 541-272-4615.

For more information on the new Powerhouse Detox facility, contact Melissa Homan at 541-720-4636 or marcher@powerhousetreatment.com
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