Mental health providers upset over state’s funding formula

Lawmakers allocated $65.1 million to the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) in the 2013 session for investments in mental health services. Then, they came back and added an additional $20 million during the September 2013 special session through an increase in the state’s cigarette tax. The OHA decided to eschew its traditional funding formula. Instead, the agency used a grant application process designed to give smaller counties and mental health providers a chance at larger awards. And it frustrated rural communities that lacked the time and resources to apply. "We are a very tiny, rural county," said Chris Siegner, who runs Harney County’s private mental health provider called Symmetry Care. "We don’t have grant writers who manage all the documentation that go along with it." Symmetry Care didn’t apply for any of the 12 grants OHA made available. "The frustrating part is we have to provide the crisis services anyway," Siegner said.…00243


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