Managed care and pensions squeezing out care at Kentucky's mental health centers

03/24/2013 09:32 PM

Kentucky mental health centers are cutting back services and struggling to assist patients the first time they’re admitted because of ongoing struggles with Medicaid managed care.

At the same time, they’re losing out on federal grants because of red flags caused by their administration costs being inflated by increasing contributions to the public pension system.

Such a one-two financial punch has slammed centers like the NorthKey Community Care Mental Health Center in Northern Kentucky. The agency serves eight counties in its region and is one of 14 regional mental health centers around the commonwealth.

“We had to close all of our adult day treatment programs for the seriously mentally ill,” said Dr. Owen Nichols, the president and CEO of NorthKey. “As a result of that, I get calls periodically from elderly parents in the community wanting help with their adult child that suffers from schizophrenia because they’re now wandering the streets, having some difficulties with local authorities.”

Here’s a look at the squeeze that mental health agencies like NorthKey are facing:

Don Weber

Don Weber is a Video Journalist for Spectrum News and covers politics and education on Pure Politics, Kentucky’s only nightly program dedicated to state politics. Don is a lifelong Kentuckian and a graduate of Northern Kentucky University. He spent many years covering sports in the Northern Kentucky area before shifting primarily to politics. You can watch Don’s work weeknights at 7:00 and 11:30 on Pure Politics, available exclusively on Spectrum News, HD Channels 403 and 715. If you have a story idea you can reach Don at


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