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Lake County Mental Health looks to Expand Facilities

Lake County Mental Health has ambitious plans to increase its office space in the coming year, as evidenced by plans for an expansion during the County’s recent budget meetings.

Earlier this year, the agency’s director, Ben Paz, approached the County with an open request for $230,000 for a pair of manufactured home structures.

In the proposal issued to the County at that time, the building would afford a child-parent psychotherapy room and office, an American Disabilities Act mandated restroom, classroom for community/non-client services, three additional offices and a conference room.

Paz noted that the biggest priority for this proposal is to allow for separate waiting areas for children and adult clients.

During the County’s budget meetings held last month, it was determined that Lake County Mental Health has funds available within the agency’s budget to afford the project.

During the budget discussions, Paz noted the agency’s goals of improving work space in both the north and south ends of the county.

Increasing early intervention services is also a goal, as the County is partnering with Douglas County on the Early Learning Council, the newest incarnation of the former Commission on Children and Families.

Commissioner Dan Shoun voiced concern for needs at present for mental health versus five years into the future.  In light of the transition to coordinated health care services, he said his vision encompasses a singular campus for mental and primary health care services.

While not opposed to the project proposal, Shoun said that he sees the proposal as a large investment that addresses present needs but not the future.

Paz said that he expects a much higher cost with incorporating the agency with the Lake District Hospital campus.  He also said that coordinated care strategies are largely directed at larger communities.

Commissioner Ken Kestner noted that the hospital campus lacks sufficient room for implementing mental health, and would require new construction in order to accommodate the agency.

Paz additionally said that plans are in the works to implementing mental health clinicians with primary care providers as a means of meeting coordinated care needs.

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