Janesville51°

Rock County struggling for options for mentally ill

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ANN MARIE AMES
June 3, 2008
— Rock County is on track to spend twice the amount it planned to institutionalize mentally ill patients in 2008.

That has left the county “scrambling” to find a local facility for two groups of its most sensitive residents, said Phil Boutwell, assistant county administrator.


The county budgeted $1.5 million to institutionalize people in 2008, Boutwell said. At the pace it has been sending patients to Mendota or Winnebago mental health institutes, the county will spend $2.8 million in 2008, he said.


The county spends about $1,000 per day to institutionalize a person, Boutwell said.


One solution could be to expand services within the county, Human Services Director Charmian Klyve said.


Officials are searching for facilities for two groups of patients, Klyve said:


-- The Human Services Department is looking into the possibility of providing more beds than the eight currently at the Jackson House, a crisis stabilization facility at 21 S. Jackson St., Janesville.


Rock County contracts with Tellurian UCAN, Inc. of Madison to provide services at Jackson House. When Jackson House is full, Rock County must send patients with immediate treatment needs to Mendota or Winnebago.


-- Together, human services and the Developmental Disability Board are looking to find a place appropriate for long-term housing for those with both developmental disabilities and mental illness. These potentially aggressive patients require specialized, intensive care, Klyve said.


In 2006, Rock County closed its Intermediate Care Facility for the Mentally Retarded on the fourth floor of the former Rock County Health Care Center at highways 14 and 51 in Janesville.


The facility provided long-term care for people with varying degrees of developmental disabilities.


Closing ICF/MR was part of a statewide initiative to serve people with developmental disabilities in community-based facilities rather than in institutions.


In 2007, the number of people needing treatment for mental illness skyrocketed, Klyve said. Currently, the county averages 14 patients housed out of county, Boutwell said.


Before 2007, the number was closer to six, Klyve said.


Two of the current patients have a combination of developmental disability and mental illness, Klyve said. She hopes to find a facility with four to six beds for those patients.


Other counties could pay to have patients institutionalized in Rock County, she said.


The problem is not unique to Rock County, she said. The increase can be attributed in part to a growing number of people with dementia, Klyve said.


“Everybody has been just slammed with increases in cases of people with dementia and developmental disabilities,” Klyve said. “It’s not a Rock County phenomenon. It’s statewide.”



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