07/30/04 — Eastpointe can't contract for services

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Eastpointe can't contract for services

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on July 30, 2004 1:58 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- The Eastpointe board has rescinded an action that created a nonprofit entity to contract with administrators of mental health care.

The Administrative Services Organization would have allowed the four-county coalition of mental health services to free up Eastpointe clinical staff for more direct care.

Eastpointe's board met Tuesday night in the Mount Olive Historic Assembly Hall. The agency's director, Jack St. Clair, said the state Division of Mental Health told him it would penalize Eastpointe $600,000 if it contracted with the providers through a nonprofit corporation.

St. Clair said the state cut would have been to Eastpointe's Medicaid match allocation, because the allocation is lower to private entities than to government agencies.

"Since the last meeting, we've explored options and found none," said St. Clair. "I recommend we undo what we voted to do in May."

The vote was unanimous.

Wethington retires

In other business, St. Clair presented a plaque of appreciation to Jesse Wethington, an addictions counselor who is retiring after 25 years. St. Clair said Wethington is "one of those people who when he speaks, people listen."

Wethington said this is a critical time in dealing with addiction. He said he's been trying to figure out what to do about crack cocaine since its advent 20 years ago, and in the past five years there has been an increase in methamphetamine use.

Unless a solution is found, he said, "there's going to be a catastrophic situation."