Westbrook Health is pulling mental health services from Calhoun County. The facility
at 2 Hospital Drive is being closed effective May 31, according to an announcement
by County Director, Lois Holloway.|
Westbrook, not unlike several mental health centers in the state, is facing critical
financial problems. Many of the services provided in rural, low-populated and under
served counties are being discontinued around the state, although critical services
are also at risk in urban areas.
Charleston-based Shawnee Hills mental health center, once considered one of the
largest behavioral health centers in America, declared bankruptcy Thursday. About
800 employees reportedly did not receive their checks.
Mental health centers in West Virginia moved from being public health agencies in
the 1980's to being privatized, competing with private-for-profit providers and
agencies. Their budgets skyrocketed.
Despite a public health mandate by the State of West Virginia, the agencies have
struggled to survive in the world of managed care and stricter Medicaid guidelines.
With many people who need mental health services being un-insured and not
covered, many of the centers have been forced to cut back and deny service.
The West Virginia Legislature recently passed legislation bringing parity to mental
health coverage by insurance companies that traditionally cover other medical
problems. Mental health providers are taking a "wait and see attitude" toward
improvements in paying for such needed services.
Westbrook will continue to operate the center in Spencer, indicating some services
will continue to be provided in the county.