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Clark Center to close Cassville office

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Clark Community Mental Health Center is closing its office in Cassville as a consequence to state funding shifts reducing services.

The Clark Center's outpatient office will remain open through the end of November. Clark's lease on the property expires at that time.

"This regrettable decision is necessary to reduce expenses because of the loss of funding from the state and federal governments," said Frank Compton, Clark Center chief executive officer.

"The Clark Center's contract as the administrative agent for Barry, Lawrence and Dade counties with the Department of Mental Health sustained significant cuts in the fiscal year 2011 budget from the Divisions of Comprehensive Psychiatric Services and Alcohol and Drug Abuse. The prospects for cuts in the fiscal year 2012 budget are also very possible," Compton explained.

The federal Access to Recovery II Grant issued to the Department of Mental Health (DMH) expired in June. From the grant, the Clark Center received $81,000 or 62 percent of a program budget.

"We met with the department and received a commitment of a portion of that funding for this year as a one-time-only fund from DMH," Compton said.

A high portion of the services being delivered in Clark's Cassville office was substance abuse counseling funded from DMH. Compton said the loss of grant money specifically impacted the Cassville service center.

"Since August 2010, Clark Center has lost five positions, slightly less than 10 percent of our total staffing pattern," Compton said. "Four have been support staff and/or staff doing billing and one middle management position. We could not support the alcohol and drug abuse as a separate and distinct program, but only as a service as part of our outpatient program in Monett. The billing positions have been lost because last February, Clark Center installed an electronic record system, which eventually began doing a significant amount of the billing functions." 

The middle manager employed by the Clark Center to run its drug and alcohol program out of the Cassville office has decided to remain in town and provide the service as a private practice provider.

The future of services to the bi-county area ultimately depends on action by the General Assembly and Governor Nixon when legislators begin their next session in January, Compton added.

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