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3-county Kansas mental health center struggling

Published on -4/16/2013, 11:07 AM

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LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) -- A mental health center that serves three northeast Kansas counties is providing help for an increasing number of people while dealing with a drop in funding, the executive director said.

Keith Rickard told the Leavenworth County Commission Monday that the Guidance Center, which serves Leavenworth, Jefferson and Atchison counties, sees about 5,000 patients a year, compared with about 2,800 decade ago.

"That's not just in Leavenworth, Atchison and Jefferson County," he said. "That's statewide and nationwide ? the number of people seeking services for mental health and substance abuse is really growing exponentially."

Rickard said the center brought in $400,000 less in revenue in 2012 than in 2011. And if the state reduces funding by an estimated $10 million from its community mental health center grants this year, the center will lose about $183,000, The Leavenworth Times reported (http://bit.ly/XE3vvU ).

The state requires community mental health center to provide services regardless of a patient's ability to pay.

Rickard said the center has decreased services only for clients who want help only with managing their medication. But further reductions in service are possible as state funding shrinks, he said.

"It's difficult in our work to provide less than what someone needs," he said. "To bring someone in and say 'here's your diagnosis, here's your treatment plan, but we're only going to deliver 50 percent.' Then we have an ethical concern."

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