Mental Health Dept. issues annual report

By Julia Simcoe

Sun Staff Intern

NORWICH – Health care reform initiatives meant changes within Chenango County’s Mental Health department last year, according to an annual report that was delivered to supervisors in May.

The publicly-funded organization serves the mentally ill, developmentally disabled and those who are chemically addicted.

Chenango County Mental Hygiene Services Director Ruth Roberts said cost-shifting at the state level forced her to keep closer tabs on productivity. As a result, clinicians themselves “are now much more aware of the business side of their jobs,” she said.

Roberts replaced two clinicians with a senior social worker and is also looking to consolidate administrative staffs. In the past, the department has considered co-locating the mental health and alcohol and drug dependency outpatient clinics, due to the strong presence of individuals with co-occurring disorders. The consideration is currently on hold, however, because of lack of adequate space at either site.

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