Tideland board reconsiders county funds

Published 8:01 pm Wednesday, April 11, 2007

By Staff
Motion from last month rescinded, revamped
News Editor
Funding for Beaufort County-based psychiatrists was in limbo for a bit Monday night as Tideland Mental Health Center’s board of directors reconsidered a decision it made last month.
In March, Tideland’s board voted 7-6 to authorize funding a third-party contract between the mental-health center and Beaufort County Hospital’s physicians, who will provide care for patients formerly seen by Tideland workers. But days later, that vote was on shaky ground after board member Hilda Swain changed her mind.
From the audience, Swain said: “That (board member) would be me.”
Because the board’s decision was no longer set in stone, funding could not be allocated, Moore said.
When state mental-health reform forced Tideland’s counties to pick another agency to merge with, four went with Albemarle Mental Health Center in Elizabeth City, but Beaufort County went with East Carolina Behavioral Health. That has left Beaufort County and Tideland with transitional issues to hash out.
Beaufort County will not break away from Tideland, which also serves Hyde, Martin, Washington and Tyrrell counties, until the current fiscal year ends on June 30. But Beaufort County sought interim funding to begin moving patients from their Tideland psychiatrists to hospital psychiatrists and also sought money to begin pursuing a detox center for patients.
Commissioner Jerry Langley, who represents Beaufort County on the Tideland board, wanted to know what caused Swain to change her mind about appropriating the money. Swain said she wasn’t comfortable with ECBH getting to use the facilities and that she wanted to make sure Albemarle could get a detox center for its patients rather than funding Beaufort County’s efforts before the end of this fiscal year.
Ultimately, the March decision was rescinded and a new funding motion was crafted.
Tideland’s board approved $135,000 for a third-party contract between the mental-health agency and the hospital. The board also approved $24,000 for a “transition coordinator,” another $24,000 for equipment and $10,000 for furniture.
Hyde County Sheriff David Mason waited out the lengthy discussion, hoping for a chance to comment to the Tideland board, he said.
But he left shortly after 9 p.m. Monday.