State License Granted To Pawnee Mental Health Services

Manhattan, May 22, 2001-Pawnee Mental Health Services was recently granted a license by the State of Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services Division of Health Care Policy to continue operating as a community mental health center through May 2003, according to Everett "Jake" Jacobs, executive director.

"Community mental health centers are defined by state laws and regulations," said Jacobs. Licensing reviews are conducted every two years at each of the 29 centers that cover Kansas to assure that all policies and procedures are in compliance with state regulations. Pawnee serves residents in ten counties: Clay, Cloud, Geary, Jewell, Marshall, Mitchell, Pottawatomie, Republic, Riley and Washington County.

At the initial visit in November, the licensing team granted Pawnee a six month provisional license based on concerns related primarily to Board of Directors policies, and a few administrative procedures. Client care received high marks from the SRS licensing team at that first visit and was not in any way an issue, Jacobs said.

By the follow-up visit in May, Pawnee demonstrated improvement and was in compliance in all areas. At the exit interview following the two-day review of policies and records, the reviewing team’s comments, Jacobs said, included, "It exceeds requirements. We haven’t seen anything like it other places we’ve gone," and "We’ve shared this work with other mental health centers. You’re a leader in taking this further."

Licensing allows community mental health centers to receive public funding to supplement the cost of mandated care to all residents in need of care in a center’s designated catchment area. For clients with insurance, most of the cost of care is covered. However, a sliding-fee scale is available to clients who are unable to pay the full cost of care, Jacobs said. No one is denied services based on lack of ability to pay.

As a comprehensive community mental health center, Pawnee offers outpatient mental health and substance abuse evaluation and treatment for adults, children and families. The services are used by nearly 8,000 people each year. Medical services include psychiatric evaluations and medication management, Jacobs said.

In addition, specialized child-based services are available to children and adolescents with serious emotional disturbances and their families. Assistance for adults with severe and persistent mental illnesses is offered in the center’s Community Support Services programs. These services are available at clinical division locations in Manhattan, Concordia and Junction City and specific services at satellite offices in seven other counties. Short-term psychiatric treatment has been available at an inpatient unit at Mercy Health Center, College Avenue Campus in a cooperative program between Pawnee and the hospital. And through a contract with Geary Community Hospital, Junction City, the center provides medical direction to the Senior Health Center.

Pawnee also offers 24/7 emergency services for mental, emotional, and behavioral problems. During office hours, emergency calls should be made to the local Pawnee office or closest division office. After-hours and holidays, the number to call for mental health emergencies from anywhere in the 10 counties Pawnee serves is 1-800-609-2002 except in Manhattan where the local number is 587-4342.

"We’re pleased to have the endorsement of the licensing team and SRS. However, we aren’t relaxing. We’re continuing to strive to improve Pawnee with the goal of enhancing our services to people in need of care. Our mission and our focus are to improve the quality of life for individuals, families, and communities by providing accessible, affordable and professional mental health and substance abuse services," said Jacobs.