The work of the Clark Community Mental Health Center was described by Frank Compton, chief executive officer, at this week's meeting of the Monett Kiwanis Club.
Serving as the major mental health provider for the bi-county area, the Clark Center is primarily funded by the Missouri Department of Mental Health, Compton said. Approximately 60 percent of funds come from federal sources, including Medicaid, and the rest comes from the state.
Around 60 percent of services provided by the Clark Center are devoted to psychiatric care, focused on 250 clients. Those clients often receive other services offered through the Clark Center as well, Compton said. Treatment for a wide range of issues is offered through the Clark Center.
Among the staff are one child psychiatrist who comes in weekly, and another psychiatrist who focuses on adults who works two days a week. There is also a Ph.D. psychologist, two licensed professional counselors, two counselors in training and two alcohol and drug abuse counselors.
The psychiatrists alone provide prescriptions for controlled substances. A nurse practitioner, working two days a week, is able to dispense other drugs, Compton said.
Over the years, Compton noted, the Clark Center staff has grown. The addition of new programs has spurred this expansion. Presently, the center has 68 contract staff, including 55 full-time people.
Technology has further expanded the center's resources. Compton explained that a video hookup with the University of Missouri enables some clients to participate in therapy sessions with a psychiatrist in Columbia via tele-psychiatry.
The Clark Center primarily operates out of two facilities at the present time. The in-patient and out-patient service center located north of Monett's North Park.
The center's primary diagnostic operation ilocated in the Ray A. Carver Building in Pierce City. Converted from the 1940 National Guard Armory damaged in the 2003 tornado, the Carver building is leased from the city. Under terms of the lease, the Clark Center put up $238,000 at the beginning of the agreement and pays monthly rent. After six years, the Clark Center will be able to buy the facility for $75,000.
The Carver building has had a history of flooding issues that have been disruptive to Clark Center operations, Compton said. Apparently when Clear Creek rises, the water table for the lower level of Pierce City follows suit, bringing water up through the floor of the building, Compton said. A $175,000 grant to correct the problem has helped. In the last rain, the building stayed dry, he said.
Recently the Clark Center received a $150,000 grant from the Missouri Conservation of Health Foundation for electronic record keeping. This innovation has required changing some jobs, but it has cut down on paperwork, Compton said. The program is done out-of-state, freeing in-house staff to concentrate on patients.
Compton said he began the mental health program in the Monett area in the early 1970s. He recognized then that people are better served locally than having to travel to bigger cities for help.
In a world where funding is always in short supply, Compton said it is easy for mental health money to be swallowed up in bigger population centers, leaving rural areas unserved. The Clark Center's recent efforts to provide targeted case management services for the developmentally disabled followed the same strategy to have local people served by local providers, Compton added.
Kiwanis President Lisa Balmas presided at the meeting. Frank Compton was the program chairman.
In club news, it was announced there will be a Kiwanis board meeting on Sept. 10.
The Monett Kiwanis Club meets every Tuesday at noon for a program and a meal. Meetings are usually held at Happy House restaurant in Monett.