State budget impasse could affect drug and alcohol services

While Centre County continues to weather a 100-plus-day budget impasse, providers serving multiple counties may soon start feeling the crunch.

County commissioners approved a contract renewal Tuesday between the county Drug and Alcohol department and Pyramid Healthcare Inc. to provide drug and alcohol detox, rehab and halfway house services. The contract is estimated at $60,000 with full state funding until June 30, 2016.

Drug and Alcohol is fortunate to have been able to continue to support its providers and continue services uninterrupted, director Cathy Arbogast said. The challenge lies in service providers who have contracts across multiple counties in the commonwealth.

“Right now, we’re looking at considerable delays because of demand,” she said. “We can’t take the chance that smaller providers are going to close because they don’t have sufficient revenue coming in.

“We need those beds,” she said. “We need to be able to get those folks into treatment.”

While the county has not yet been asked to support other counties, she said, that doesn’t mean individuals may not be coming from counties with fewer resources to Centre County because it can offer more services.

“It can only get worse if providers are not able to manage and continue to operate,” she said.

Regardless of budget issues, Arbogast said, Drug and Alcohol will continue to look at options for how to manage the services it provides. The department will continue to look at how best to connect people with services that meet their needs and what services can be provided to an individual to help stay clean.

“It’s a lot cheaper to help someone stay and recover than to send them back through treatment as second or third time,” she said.