Billing system root of BHR problems

OlympiaMarch 7, 2014 

Thank you for your Feb. 15 article concerning the “dire financial test” of Behavioral Health Resources, the tri-county mental health agency founded in Thurston County in 1956. I am a 15-year employee of BHR and serve as a member of SEIU Healthcare 1199 NW on the collective bargaining team.

The overall discussion about services to people with mental health issues is complicated; services to people with mental health issues has presented challenges since the medieval era. As we all see all too often in our communities and in the news, not resolving these challenges can have tragic consequences.

The current system for funding mental health services is called “billing for services.” Because of the nature of our clientele, the billing for services system has caused these issues: fear of financial collapse for BHR, fear of job loss for workers who are trained and experienced in mental health service delivery, and greater recovery challenges to those suffering with mental health issues.

The salvation of BHR depends on a shift in this manner of funding for mental health agencies.

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