Mental health provider closes its doors - Hi-Desert Star: News

Mental health provider closes its doors

Funding cutbacks, cash flow issues cited as factors in closure

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Posted: Friday, April 5, 2013 9:53 pm

MORONGO BASIN — The Basin’s main provider of mental-health care and recovery services will close at the end of June.

Morongo Basin Mental Health operates Yucca Valley’s 24-hour Crisis Walk-In Center, Morongo Basin Counseling and Recovery Services, the Joshua Tree Drug Court Program and several other free services and programs for mental health and substance-abuse recovery. San Bernardino County has a contract with the agency to serve the Hi-Desert.

Leaders announced the closure Thursday.

The agency has been operating locally for about 40 years.

“Due to funding cutbacks and recent decisions by regulators we have come to the conclusion that MBMH is financially unable to continue operations,” the release states.

Services will be provided through June 30.

Beverly Ary, a spokeswoman for Morongo Basin Mental Health, said the county will most likely find a new provider to offer services. It’s unclear how current programs will be affected, if at all, under a new provider.

“It is the responsibility of the Department of Behavioral Health to make sure that there are adequate facilities and resources. It will be their responsibility to ensure that all of the services that are currently offered in the Morongo Basin are maintained,” Ary said by phone Thursday. “We want to start talking to all our clients to let them know that we will work with the county in every way possible to transition services to the next provider. I think the most important thing for the board of directors is that there is a continuity of care.”

Ary said even though San Bernardino County is a funding partner, the agency faced cash-flow issues that made it difficult to continue to operate.

“Most of our contracts are reimbursement contracts,” Ary explained. “You have to have cash flow, you have to have money coming in. Over time, it’s become very difficult for us.”

In 2012, the Basin’s addiction treatment center, Panorama Ranch, closed, pushing clients to a facility in Barstow operated by Morongo Basin Mental Health.

CaSonya Thomas, director of the county’s Behavioral Health Department, said the county wants to ensure continuity of care.

“The Department of Behavioral Health is committed to providing a progressive system of seamless, accessible and effective services that promote prevention, intervention, recovery and resiliency for the individuals and families in the Morongo Basin community,” Thomas said via email.

She said one of the county’s goals is to maintain the Crisis Walk In Center, where people with immediate mental-health needs can walk in or call a hotline at any time. “The Department of Behavioral Health is working with MBMH to ensure a seamless transition of these services to another DBH provider,” she explained.

Ary added that Morongo Basin Mental Health will work with the county and is making itself available to clients until it closes.

“We have set up meetings twice a day all next week, at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., for clients to come in to talk with our directors,” she said. Clients can visit the location on Santa Fe Trail in Yucca Valley on a walk-in basis to speak with directors.

© 2016 Hi-Desert Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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