Before AllCare switch over deadline, community reacts

(KTVL/ Kimberly Kolliner)

MEDFORD, Ore. - AllCare is working vigorously to make their March 31st patient transition deadline work.

However, they do have a grace period in place so their patients aren't hung out to dry.

There's just a little over two weeks left for AllCare patients at Jackson County Health and Human Services to transition to Options.

AllCare says they had 1,400 patients at Jackson County.

400 of those received care through independent providers, the other 1,000 will need to make the switch to Options.

AllCare says though it's inconvenient, the new resources will make it worth it.

"Options is going to be opening two clinics in Medford. As the transition is going we are budgeting that there will be $14.5 million going to Options to pay for mental health services in Jackson County," AllCare Vice President of Health Policy, Josh Balloch said.

The transition isn't just affecting AllCare patients.

Patients of Jackson Care Connect are struggling to make the switch as well.

Since 2014, AllCare has provided $13 million to Jackson County Health and Human Services.

In an effort spread their money to different resources - like Options for Southern Oregon - AllCare offered to pay Jackson County $8 million to only perform outpatient services.

When that offer was denied, AllCare shifted all of their money over to Options.

"We have a long term plan that will actually expand services so that more people can get access to mental health care," Balloch said.

AllCare believes the community will have more resources through their collaboration with Options However, community members like Michea Bonilla say they are scrambling to find those new services.

"Everything's new, everything's going on and I’m just going, I kind of need this," Bonilla said.

Bonilla isn't an AllCare patient but he too has been affected by the transition.

"I’ve been without just a regular therapist since December and that's really starting to mess with my everyday life," Bonilla said.

The transgender therapist he worked with at Jackson County Mental Health was laid off.

Since we last spoke to him in January he's transitioned to Columbia Care.

Bonilla is one of 473 new patients Columbia Care has received because of the transition.

"Back in October we began working together with Jackson County Mental Health so we did that through a warm hand off process. On November 1st we began serving those individuals," Columbia Care Communications Manager, Jennifer Sewitsky said.

To adjust for the intake, Columbia Care has added three new facilities and increased staffing.

Bonilla is able to get mental health and other specialized services through them but wasn't able to find transgender care.

He had to look on his own for that counseling and says it’s been a challenge.

"I finally just said, I’m doing it on my own and just went down the list calling just each person [asking] ‘do you take Oregon Health Plan, do you take Jackson Care Connect’ going over and over with each one," Bonilla said.

His daughter too has gone through multiple mental health therapists as a result of the AllCare switchover.

She's still looking for a long term help.

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