GATESVILLE — Coryell County commissioners are working with the Central Counties MHMR on a four-year project to improve services for adults in psychiatric crisis who too often wind up in emergency rooms and jail cells.
“Fewer county residents will be sent to the state psychiatric hospital system for short-term mental health crisis and fewer persons experiencing a mental health crisis who commit minor crimes will be sent to jail,” said Eldon Tietje, director of the Central Counties MHMR.
The first phase of the project will be to contract with the Heart of Texas MHMR in Waco for “crisis respite” care for five to 10 adults from Coryell County.
The next phase would be renovation of the old Coryell Hospital building in Gatesville to provide 16 beds for the care at a cost of about $30,000. That part of the project is to be completed by October 2013.
Next would be a needs-assessment report for construction of a 36-bed center in Gatesville to provide crisis respite as well as behavioral skills training and outpatient mental health care. The target date for completion of the center is October 2014.
Tietje said the request for the initial $6.5 million for the project will be submitted for a federal matching program next week, with approval expected by February 2013.
The funding is being sought through Section 1115 of the Social Security Act authorizing waiver of Medicaid requirements. The matching ratio for the funding is 58.16 percent from the federal government and 41.84 percent from local sources, Tietje said.
“This is a really important project,” said County Judge John Firth.
The final proposal will be available for public comment on Oct. 22.