Concrete timeline for Douglas County’s behavioral health crisis center is expected this week

photo by: Kim Callahan/Journal-World

The Treatment and Recovery Center of Douglas County is pictured on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022.

Douglas County leaders will hear another update about the county’s yet-to-open behavioral health crisis center this week, and it’s expected to include something that members of the public have been asking about for much of the past year — a concrete timeline for opening.

That topic and a number of other details related to the Treatment and Recovery Center of Douglas County will be part of an update from county staff at Wednesday’s Douglas County Commission meeting.

In about three months, it will have been a year since the county hosted a ribbon cutting for the facility. But as it stands, the TRC is still without an operator. In December, Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center expressed interest in operating the facility, and it’s been in negotiations with the county since then. Douglas County Administrator Sarah Plinsky set April 5 as the tentative end date for those conversations back in February.

In brief updates at recent County Commission meetings, Plinsky indicated that the county was on track to stick to the negotiation timeline she outlined last month. Representatives with the county and Bert Nash have been meeting multiple times per week.

Along with the timeline for opening, Wednesday’s update will include details about the status of some key pieces in the county’s negotiations with Bert Nash in the past few months about running the facility — “due diligence” items such as budgets and facility logistics, an operating agreement and a lease.

County staff also plans to provide specific updates about the facility’s grievance process and procedures for “high-acuity” patients — in other words, patients who require frequent observation to make certain their condition improves or remains stable.

In other business, commissioners will:

* During a work session, learn more about Bert Nash’s financial situation due to its status as a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic. The work session will include a review of county investments in Bert Nash, as well as an overview of potential opportunities for investments and support for the center in advance of the 2024 budget process.

* Consider a request from the Lawrence Juneteenth Organization to allocate $5,000 in one-time support for the 2023 Juneteenth celebration on June 17.

* Consider authorizing county staff to sign a 2023 regional homeless coordination services agreement with the Kansas Statewide Homeless Coalition.

Wednesday’s work session will begin at 4 p.m., followed by the business meeting at 5:30 p.m. at the Douglas County Courthouse, 1100 Massachusetts St. The meeting will also be available by Zoom. For meeting information, visit the county’s website:


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