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General Contact Number: (530) 621-5567

2009

El Dorado County Mental Health Provides Update
Recent Budget and Programmatic Changes
Department:
Mental Health

Date:
2/26/2009
Contact:
Margaret Williams

Phone:
(530) 621-6243
 El Dorado County Mental Health is making some needed changes in order to respond to a significant reduction in funding from state realignment dollars (vehicle license fees and sales tax), as well as other revenue shortfalls. “We estimate that we will be at least $2.4 million dollars short by the end of June and are forced to make some difficult reductions in staffing,” said Chris Kondo-Lister, Deputy Director for Mental Health. “I’d like to add, however, that we are working very diligently and thoughtfully to make these reductions so that they have the least impact on services and programs to the community. We are very committed to serving those most in need of mental health services, in both the Placerville area and in South Lake Tahoe.”

Over the next month or so, Mental Health is slated to reduce its staff by 10 regular positions, which includes six positions in Placerville and four positions in South Lake Tahoe. “While these cuts are difficult, there will still be staff in both locations to provide services and programs,” said Kondo-Lister. “We will have approximately 90 regular mental health employees remaining in the county, plus some on-call and temporary help. We will also continue to work with our partners in the community to ensure that those most in need are provided for.”

According to Kondo-Lister, Mental Health plans to continue operating mental health clinics in Placerville and South Lake Tahoe and to offer a range of services for those with severe mental health problems, including services for children and adults. These services will include mental health assessments, group work, peer support, medications, and case management. In addition, Mental Health will continue to provide for 24 hour mental health crisis services on both sides of the mountain. “We are statutorily mandated and contractually required to provide mental health services in El Dorado County, and we are committed to providing those services,” said Kondo-Lister.

“As we go through these changes, we are not only looking at funding, but how we can be most efficient and serve the greatest number of people with the limited dollars that we have,” explained Kondo-Lister. “One of the ways we are doing that is by conducting a complete review of our current practices and an assessment of our cases and caseloads. Our first priority, as we go through this review process, is to ensure that we are identifying and serving people with the most severe mental health problems.”

Over the past year, according to Kondo-Lister, Mental Health has already begun making a number of programmatic changes in order to be more efficient and more progressive. “We have been shifting toward a wellness and recovery model and moving away from individual therapy for every client. So far, we’ve seen very positive results from these changes,” said Kondo-Lister. “We are now offering more drop-in services and group therapy for clients, providing peer, family and volunteer support, and providing appropriate levels of case management services.”

“We see these changes as a process,” added Kondo-Lister. “We will be carefully monitoring the situation and will make adjustments if needed. For example, if we find that our current staffing levels are not meeting a need on either side of the slope, we can evaluate the work locations of the staff and make appropriate adjustments. We want to keep the dialog open. If individuals in the community are concerned about these changes they should feel free to contact me.”

Mental Health is a division of the El Dorado County Health Services Department. For more information about Mental Health services, visit www.edcgov.us/mentalhealth.