It is good, actually it is a relief, to read that progress is being made in our region toward competently managing care for those suffering from mental illness. Specifically, the Chelan-Douglas Regional Support Network, which yearly distributes millions in state and federal funds for local mental health care, seems to have been righted after years of neglect, lack of oversight and fiscal chaos. It is far from safety, but on a reasonable course.
As outlined in a story Thursday by The World’s K.C. Mehaffey, the new RSN Interim Director Tamara Cardwell-Burns has been at work rebuilding an organization, essentially from scratch. Potential contract providers are being interviewed, a consultant with a track record of success in the field has been hired, alternatives for treatment are being investigated. Importantly, the governing structure of the agency has been overhauled. Previously Douglas County was solely responsible for managing the agency. The board consisted of Douglas County Commissioner Ken Stanton as chairman and Chelan County Commission Ron Walter as vice chair, with representatives from the cities of Wenatchee, East Wenatchee, Leavenworth and Rock Island added. Considering the agency’s financial implosion it is clear that group was not up to the task. Now the board will consist of two Douglas County commissioners, two Chelan County commissioners, and an at-large member to be chosen. Douglas County is not relieved of duty, it carries much responsibility, but now there will be more eyes on the spreadsheet and an added measure of transparency and accountability.