County extends contract with company to help with mental health department

Happy with the job that Service Access Management has performed with the Mental Health/Intellectual Disability/Early Intervention and Drug and Alcohol department, the Centre County commissioners voted to extend its stay.

The company was hired in June to help with individual cases and help improve productivity after former department Director Carol Waltz resigned. The new contract will allow SAM the opportunity to manage and supervise the program’s fiscal department to improve finances.

Commissioner Chris Exarchos said the company was able, in the previous contract, to ramp up client services to increase productivity and revenue. He said he thinks the new contract will yield similar results for the fiscal department.

“The main thing I think that they gave us was that we were able to put more services on the street,” he said.

The first contract through the end of 2013 was for $60,000, and the new one will cost the county $72,000 for the first six months of 2014. Exarchos said the bump in price is due to an increased scope of work, and SAM realizing it gave the county too good a deal last time around.

Though SAM gave strong training and oversight after coming in, Commissioner Michael Pipe added that the hard work of the staff is a big part of what helped turn the programs around.

The county also will be looking to bring in a replacement department director, and Exarchos expects a new person will be ready to start in the office by January.

County Administrator Tim Boyde is the acting department director.