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State to cut funding for crisis stabilization unit

The only four crisis stabilization units in the state of Arkansas will lose 60% of its funding
Published: Jun. 29, 2021 at 10:59 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - The Arkansas Department of Human Services will cut funding for the regional crisis stabilization units in Craighead, Pulaski, Sebastian, and Washington Counties.

Craighead County Sheriff Marty Boyd says this could dramatically affect operations at the facilities.

“They would be cutting the reimbursement of the operators of the facility,” Sheriff Boyd said.

Sheriff Boyd mentioned the Craighead County Regional Crisis Stabilization Unit is still in its two-year initial funding period so they won’t be affected by the cuts until October.

Craighead County Regional Crisis Stabilization Unit serves 20 counties and is operated by Mid-South Health Systems currently at $132,000 a year, but after the potential cut, they would operate at $50,000 a year.

Mid-South Health Systems said in a statement Tuesday, the cut in funding “severely limit” their ability to serve as the operator, adding they “will continue to work with these important partners to help avoid arrest and incarceration for people suffering a mental health crisis.”

Washington County has closed its unit after operator Ozark Guidance discontinued its contract.

Sheriff Boyd says closing the unit could force law enforcement to hold adults in crisis inside of a jail cell until they are afforded a bed at a psychiatric care unit, adding there very few beds available.

“It’s sometimes a year waiting list for those beds,” the sheriff said.

With many success stories to come out of the Craighead County Regional Crisis Stabilization Unit, Sheriff Boyd hopes there is a solution, saying the crisis units are a critical tool in the state.

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