2012-12-12 / Local & State

Private Vendor To Manage Caseworker Positions

STAFF REPORT

One year after a proposal to form a nonprofit organization to oversee the county’s mental health, intellectual disabilities and early intervention programs, a decision was finally handed down last week.

Action was taken last Tuesday afternoon, December 4, regarding the future of the programs as well as their multitude of caseworkers that handle clients here and in neighboring Franklin County. On a motion by Fulton County Commissioner Rodney McCray, our commissioners unanimously agreed to look further into the privatizing of case management.

As a result of the decision, the joint Fulton/Franklin County program is expected to keep approximately 17 employees who are expected to provide the administration for the trio of programs. However, around 30 caseworkers involved in the mental health field as well as 11 in intellectual disabilities and six in early intervention will be managed by a private provider.

While those caseworkers were likely to find out their fate this week, a deadline of July 1 has been set for the private provider to take over case management here. In recent months, county staff narrowed the field of interested private vendors from 12 to two, reports indicate. Negotiations will begin once it has been determined if those vendors are still interested in providing professional services.

Furthermore, a cost benefit analysis prepared earlier in 2012 lists possible savings from the move at around $3 million. That savings is broken down between salaries and operating costs, but nearly the same amount is anticipated to be expended by the counties to the future vendor providing services.

The Fulton County commissioners announced in making their decision they took into consideration a recommendation made by the MH/ID Privatization Task Force, which encouraged the privatization of case management and not the establishment of a nonprofit organization.

They did not care to make formal comment on the matter.

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