Weber Human Services wants to provide more for Morgan residents

Weber Human Services wants to provide more for Morgan residents

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Representatives from Weber Human Services say they would like to see more Morgan County residents take advantage of their services including mental health, substance abuse counseling, prevention services, and aging services. We have found over the years we have a difficult time getting access to people in Morgan, said Randy Bates, chief financial officer of Weber Human Services. We have tried to figure out ways to get more access into the population up here, and we have had real struggles. The theory is you take care of your own, and (Weber Human Services) is not something you do. Weber Human Services representatives recently told the Morgan County Council they were willing to help them in any way possible, even if it varied from the status quo as determined by the interlocal agreement Morgan County currently has with the organization. The reality is you have a lot of leeway as a council regarding how county funds are used, Bates said. We would like to find out what you would like and see if there is a way to do it. We want to make sure this is your program and your money. In 2014, Weber Human Services helped only 48 Morgan County residents. For the $43,000 the Morgan County Council hands over the Weber Human Services annually, some council members wonder if they are getting the best bang for their buck. Weber Human Services Executive Director Kevin Eastman said services provided by his organization can only be provided for those eligible for Medicaid. Throughout the whole county, only 300 Morgan residents are eligible for Medicaid. Unlike mental health, counseling and prevention services, aging services are based on age, not Medicaid eligibility. Bates said Morgan County should actually be contributing closer to $75,000 annually, in order to financially match other monies flowing into Weber Human Services. We knew that would be a hardship on you, and since Weber County had some extra funds, the organization did not approach Morgan County for additional funding last year, Bates said. If Morgan did not contract for these services, the county would have to provide the services on their own or find another agency willing to help out, Morgan County Council Chairman Logan Wilde said. You dont have the option not to help these people, Wilde told the council. Morgan County is in an interlocal agreement with Weber Human Services to provide services. A mental health worker is in the county two days each week, mostly work with local schools. The local MountainStar clinic also cooperates with the program to provide mental health referrals. The organization also cooperates with the Morgan Senior Citizen Center to provide meals, transportation, deeply discounted products, preventative health services, and salaries to employees who work there. We ask them to make that trek to Weber County because we dont provide substance abuse counseling here, Eastman said. Such counseling is usually for those court ordered by drug courts. If the number of residents needing substance abuse counseling increased, a program could potentially be located in Morgan County, Bates said. The organization uses Morgans money as a match to pull down additional federal money, and all money must be spent according to federal guidelines, Bates said. Once the county money becomes a match for federal money, it loses its color as county money, he said. Once it is a match for federal dollars, it becomes federal money and cannot be used for anything except for Medicaid-related services. Bates said that Morgan County could choose to pull that money out of being used as federal money if they desired. Weber Human Services used to provide services for those not eligible for Medicaid, but had to scale back as money got tighter and tighter over the years, Eastman said. We were facing going broke, he said. So now we limit it to Medicaid-eligible (participants). Eastman said that his organization has not been participating in prevention, mostly because the Morgan County School District decided years ago not to administer the SHARP survey to area schools. Due to a lack of information the SHARP survey could provide, Weber Human Services representatives dont know which behaviorsîsuch as drug and alcohol abuse and suicideîneed to be prevented in Morgan County. We have tried to work with the school district helping them understand the importance of measuring what is going on with the county, Eastman said. We are waiting to get back in and provide the services again, if Morgan decides to participate in the survey. I hope we can do something to work with the district to get the survey back in your schools.

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