SEARHC Announces Consolidation of Behavioral Health Services with Lynn Canal Counseling Services in Haines
Expected to be completed by October
HAINES, August 4, 2015 – Today, SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) announced the consolidation of their behavioral health services with Lynn Canal Counseling Services (Lynn Canal) as a step toward securing sustainable, comprehensive mental health and substance abuse services for the Haines community. Through the consolidation, SEARHC will provide all management and operational support to Lynn Canal, which will retain its name and become a new Haines-based department of SEARHC. The consolidation is expected to be completed by October 1, 2015.
“The fast changing Alaska healthcare landscape, coupled with declining budgetary support, points to the need for and importance of collaborating with quality providers to offer valuable healthcare services,” said SEARHC President and Chief Executive Officer, Chuck Clement. “By consolidating our behavioral health services, both Lynn Canal and SEARHC can increase operating efficiencies while advancing our respective missions and providing excellent behavioral health services.”
Earlier this year Alaska’s governor called for a budget reduction in Medicaid of $20 million “through efficiencies and tightening program rules.” The impact of this, as well as additional state budget constraints, combined with the cost of providing services in rural and small markets drives delivery costs up. Simultaneously, to ensure high-quality services and access, quality staffing levels must be maintained.
“With increasing pressure on operating margins, we must do everything we can to preserve the quality of services we offer to our communities,” said Clement. “In this case, working in partnership with Lynn Canal to consolidate services and reduce operating expenses in response to the marketplace challenges is necessary for the continued delivery of quality behavioral health services.”
Both organizations provide behavioral health services, in part, through monies received from the state of Alaska’s Comprehensive Behavioral Health Treatment and Recovery (CBHTR) grant award; however, by consolidating services and decreasing the combined administrative expenses, the dollars to provide behavioral health services will go farther.
Lynn Canal is designated as a Community Behavioral Health Center and is required to provide psychiatric emergency services; outpatient treatment for adults with severe mental illness; outpatient services for high-risk children in early childhood and/or youth with serious emotional disturbances and their families; and adult outpatient substance abuse disorder treatment.
Lynn Canal’s staff and clients will be blended into SEARHC’s clinic-based framework, with staffing determined by the volume of service needed. Additionally, SEARHC will assume Lynn Canal’s current lease in Haines, where behavioral health services will continue to be delivered as well as SEARHC’s Haines Health Center.
Jointly, Lynn Canal and SEARHC will offer a comprehensive portfolio of services, including:
- Individual, couples and family therapy with supportive case management
- Children's services ranging from individual, family and group services to community-based and home-based services to counseling, prevention and education
- Crisis Intervention and urgent care with same-day or next-day access
- Tele-behavioral health services
- Substance abuse and behavioral health counseling and prevention services for adults, children and adolescents
- Inpatient and outpatient psychiatric services and medication management
- Intensive outpatient treatment for substance abuse
- Adolescent residential substance abuse treatment program
- Psychological testing
- Title 47 examinations 24 hours a day, seven days a week
An advisory committee composed of Lynn Canal board members and staff from both organizations will be established to ensure a smooth transition of services. Transition of retained employees and administrative functions, as well as client service functions, to SEARHC will take effect on October 1, 2015.
“As the behavioral health needs of the communities grow,” said Clement “we will grow the staff and clinicians to ensure we meet those needs. There are tremendous benefits in consolidating our behavioral health services with Lynn Canal, the greatest of which is increased access and improvements in the quality of services provided to our patients and communities.”