Johnson County Mental Health Center to add 21 additional employees

Johnson County Mental Health Center Shawnee

Focusing on enhancing mental health services for all ages and reducing caseloads for current case managers, the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners has approved 21 additional employees for Johnson County Mental Health Center.

On Thursday, Dec. 15, the board authorized $2.1 million in reserves for 2023 for JCMHC to add 11 case managers (eight for Adult Services and three for Children and Family Services) and create two new case management teams (each with a team leader and two clinicians). The board voted unanimously to approve the funding for additional mental health staffing.

The 21 positions will be funded by the contract revenues through Medicaid established by the prospective payment system rate negotiated between Johnson County Mental Health Center and the State of Kansas.

“No county property tax support is required as part of this request,” according to the briefing sheet. “The PPS rate will be reviewed every two years and will be increased by the state based on full cost recovery analysis for CCBHC (Certified Community Behavioral Health Center) services.”

Chairman Ed Eilert says adding more frontline case managers to the Mental Health Center reflects a strategic priority of the board to strengthen and finance the appropriate level of service to meet the needs of the county’s vulnerable populations and create conditions that promote community health.

Mental health is an important public service of Johnson County. Our mental health staff has been stretched to the limit with increased demand for mental health services. Our Mental Health Center needs this staffing help to expand its support in providing important mental health programs that directly help individuals and families in great need and strengthen the mental health wellness of our community,” Chairman Eilert said.

According to Tim DeWeese, director of the Mental Health Center, the additional employees will help JCMHC handle demand, which exceeds the standard rates of cases per case manager by 273 clients for Adult Services and by 50 clients for Children and Family Services. More manageable workloads will also help the county in the retention of mental health workers.

“If you have a lower workload for your employees, than they can provide higher quality services, more intensive services, so you should see also a decrease in crisis use,” DeWeese advised the board during his presentation. “You should see an increase in employment. You should see a decrease in hospitalization. You should see, on the kids’ side, an increase in school functioning.”

JCMHC served 8,396 clients last year who experienced a mental health crisis. Johnson County, with an estimated population of 613,219, has an underserved population of 10,000 residents needing mental health services according to data estimates.

The additional case managers and mental health teams will help maintain JCMHC’s designation as a Certified Community Behavioral Health Center, a model authorized by the Kansas Legislature to improve accessibility to mental health services throughout the state.

According to a briefing sheet explaining the request for additional staff, the CCBHC model, launched nationally in 2017 and approved in Kansas in 2021, is specifically designed to address “the suicide crisis, overdose deaths, barriers to timely access to addiction and mental health treatment, delayed care, inadequate care for veterans, and overburdened jail and emergency departments; all of which affect the Kansas mental health system.”

Johnson County Mental Health Center received provisional certification as a CCBHC in July 2022. Other additions to the mental health staff include a prevention manager to manage the team responsible for suicide prevention, substance use prevention and mental health promotion efforts; a staff development coordinator, an Emergency Services team leader; and a clinical specialist for quality and integrity to ensure services provided to clients are compliant with CCBHC requirements.

Mental Health
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