About 200 layoffs expected at Jackson County Health and Human Services

MEDFORD, Ore.-- Major layoffs are happening at Jackson County Health and Human Services. About 200 people could be let go.

Angela Cruthirds is the Records Custodian at Jackson County Health and Human Services. She has been working there for the last 20 years, but her future with the agency may be cut short. She said out of the 200 layoffs, about 180 of those will be specific to mental health. She said that is about 80 percent of the mental health department.

"I know that right now there's an issue as far as Jackson County and AllCare and some of the contract things going on there that have not been able to be resolved," Representative Duane Stark said. "My assumption is that that is probably related to it."

Stark said mental health is a huge priority for everyone up in Salem.

For now, Cruthirds is concerned for the people who use the county's services, and what kind of care they will be receiving.

"How is that going to translate into quality care," she said.

Currently, there is no timeline set for when the layoffs will be official, but Doctor Jim Shames with the county said it is coming. Cruthirds said she believes there will be a trickle down effect when it does happen; she believes there will be more than 200 people laid off.

Stark gave News10 more information about what happened. He sent this release from AllCare Health:

Options for Southern Oregon informed AllCare Health that during discussions late last week with Jackson County Mental Health, the County announced it will no longer provide mental health services for AllCare CCO in the county, except for crisis services.

“Our focus has always been making sure our members are getting the care they need,” said Dr. Mark Bradshaw, AllCare Health Chief Medical Officer, a psychiatrist who practiced in Southern Oregon for 10 years. “We are committed to building an even better mental health delivery system in Jackson County, and to ensuring that this will be a smooth transition for our CCO members.”

AllCare CCO works with more than 50 mental health providers in Jackson County, including Options for Southern Oregon, which will work to ensure all AllCare CCO members continue to get locally-based mental healthcare. Options for Southern Oregon is a locally-based mental health organization already providing mental health services in Jackson and Josephine counties.

Last week, Options offered Jackson County Mental Health a three-month extension of the current contract with the same rates. They also offered a higher rate relative to Options compensation for providing similar services in Josephine County, for the continuation of services by Jackson County Mental Health. Jackson County informed Options that, effective April 1, they would only offer crisis mental health support for AllCare CCO.

“We want to make sure AllCare CCO members’ needs are being met and we have already started to put processes in place to effectively transition members currently receiving services,” said Karla McCafferty, Executive Director of Options for Southern Oregon.

McCafferty continued by saying that Options has the capacity to provide critical mental health services in Jackson County and will be looking to increase overall capacity throughout the county.

To help with the transition, AllCare Health has asked Jackson County to extend the current contract an extra three months, expedite transfers of medical records, and allow Options to position staff at Jackson County Mental Health facilities to help coordinate care plans and answer members’ and their family’s questions.

“We will be contacting our members who are currently receiving services from Jackson County Mental Health individually to help answer questions and explain next steps,” said Bradshaw.

In early December, AllCare CCO notified the County they were going to change the way contractual agreements were managed with Jackson County Mental Health, as of April 1, 2017. AllCare Health asked Options to step in and provide management for all of AllCare CCO’s mental health resources in Jackson and Josephine counties. The current contract is in place until March 31, 2017. Until then, everything will remain the same. Currently about three percent of AllCare CCO members are receiving services with Jackson County Mental Health.

“It was always our intent that Jackson County Mental Health would contract with Options so that Jackson County would continue to be our primary mental health provider in Jackson County. Unfortunately, the County is choosing to go another direction, which is disappointing,” said Bradshaw.

This is a developing story.

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