Three new members join ADAMhs Board

Three new members participated in their first Four County ADAMhs Board meeting Thursday.

The new members are Tod Hug of Liberty Center, who was appointed by the Henry County commissioners; Jeff Mayer of Defiance, who was appointed by the Defiance County commissioners; and Wayne Smith of Napoleon, who was appointed by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. All were appointed to four year terms ending June 30, 2020.

Hug is superintendent of the Liberty Center schools. Mayer, a deacon at St. Mary’s Catholic parish, is a volunteer member of the four county Local Outreach to Survivors of Suicide (LOSS) team. Smith works in Napoleon.

One of their first votes was to accept the budget commission’s determination that the ADAMhs Board has established its need for two 0.7 mill property taxes for operations. Both taxes have been approved by voters repeatedly every five years.

One of those taxes is on the November 8 ballot as a renewal. This tax was first approved by voters in 1982.

ADAMhs Board CEO Les McCaslin explained that the tax generates $1,737,181 or 29 percent of the board’s operating budget. Although approved as a 0.7 mill levy, its current effective millage rate has been reduced to .47 mills. The cost of the millage for the owner of a $100,000 home is $16.45 a year.

McCaslin reported on the fourth quarter hospital and medication utilization numbers from last year.

He noted that the board spent no money last year to purchase psychiatric medications from the state’s central pharmacy. Before the board’s partnership with Health Partners of Western Ohio to provide primary healthcare and pharmacy services to clients served by ADAMhs-funded agencies, board spending on psychiatric medications from the state had once approached $1 million a year.

Last year, the board spent just $8,092 on psychiatric medications for patients who could not afford them through the Health Partners’ pharmacy.

McCaslin also reported that the board was 620 days or 28 percent under the budgeted number of days for inpatient hospitalization at the state psychiatric hospital in Toledo.

He said the reduction in costly hospitalizations is directly related to the board’s investment in and expansion of local services to better manage clients’ mental illness.

The board approved several contracts, including:

• A $90,000 Title XX contract with Quadco Rehabilitation Center for vocational and employment services.

• An additional $386,000 for Family Services of Northwest Ohio for mental health crisis services that are provided by Comprehensive Crisis Care, a division of Family Services that is located in Napoleon. The agency is completing construction of a 10-bed adult crisis stabilization unit (CSU) that is expected to open by early winter or sooner. The additional funding will help fund the operation that unit as well as a 10-bed youth CSU that the agency operates and provide some additional funding for the crisis pre-screens that the agency does.

McCaslin noted that more than half of the cost to build the adult CSU is covered by a $500,000 state grant.

• $25,000 to co-fund the Swanton Area Coalition on Substance Abuse and Addiction Awareness with the Lucas County ADAMHS Board. The coalition serves the Swanton school district which includes parts of Fulton and Lucas counties.

• $40,000 for A Renewed Mind to cover staffing costs of a women’s recovery housing unit that it operates in Wauseon. The temporary housing is for younger women who are successfully progressing through recovery from an addiction and who are employed.

• $5,000 as the board’s share of the cost for both the Fulton and Henry county health needs assessments. The total amount approved for the assessments was $10,000.

The board also viewed a portion of a 20 minute video on the Four County LOSS team. The video featured Fulton County Sheriff Roy Miller and former Defiance Police Chief Tim Tobias explaining how the LOSS teams, which have been trained and coordinated with ADAMhs Board funding, have helped law enforcement provide immediate support to families who have experienced the death of a loved one by suicide.

McCaslin told the board that the LOSS teams and the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) trainings that the ADAMhs Board has provided law enforcement the last six years have enhanced the understanding and improved the cooperation between the mental health system and law enforcement.

The CIT program is a week-long workshop for law enforcement that provides education and training on effective ways of dealing with crisis situations involving someone with a mental illness.

To date, 90 officers from across the four county area have completed CIT training. Another CIT class will be offered in October.

As a result of these programs, McCaslin noted that residents who experience a crisis are getting better, more compassionate service. However, an added benefit has been that law enforcement and mental health are now working together better and more often in areas that go beyond what the trainings covered.

ADAMhs Board chairperson Michael Chadwick recognized Pam Pflum, the board’s director of quality improvement and coordinator of the four county LOSS program. She will be resigning from the board and moving to Florida later this year. Chadwick noted that she has not only served the board well in her staff position, but had previously served on the Four County ADAMhs Board, including a term as chairperson.