Dr. Jason Smith, the Superintendent of the Cherokee Mental Health Institute and Civil Commitment Unit for Sex Offenders (CCUSO), said the two facilities are doing "fairly well" in regards to their current budget and staffing status.
Smith made the remark Friday at the quarterly meeting of the Citizens' Advisory Board at the MHI.
MHI Director of Nursing Jane Campbell said that MHI has hired 21 new staff members in the nursing department since April, 2011, adding that some of the new hires have been Registered Nurses and others Residential Treatment Workers. Not all of the new hires have been Full Time Employees, either, with some being part-time or temporary employees.
Dr. Smith said that CCUSO was fully staffed, although he noted that didn't last long, as one employee had an opportunity to return back to their home area and accepted employment there.
On the training front, CCUSO reported that they were recently able to present an educational session about Child Abuse to providers from around the area, and have another one scheduled in November. Jane Campbell said that MHI continues to provide observational study for student nurses from several schools and MHI also provides training for students in pharmacy, psychology, social work and the Physician Assistant program.
Dr. Smith introduced two new CCUSO staff members, psycholgists Dr. Michael Loescher and Dr. Tracy Thomas. Dr. Thomas' background is in Forensic Psychology, at both the State and Federal levels, and she will not be providing counseling at CCUSO, but rather doing the annual reviews of the residents (there are currently 89 residents, and each resident is reviewed annually).
Lorri Winterhof, social worker in the Admissions Office, updated the group on Admissions trends at MHI. Winterhof said that the MHI served 425 in-patients in Fiscal Year 2010 and 429 in FY 2011 - 195 children and adolescents and 234 adults.
There were 38 admissions in July, 37 in August and 46 in September, and she noted that the number of available beds for adolescents was increased from 6 to 12 in September. The average length of stay over that 3 month period was 9.67 days for children and adolescents and 29 days for adults.
Plant Manager Jim Stowater told the group that there are a lot of roofing projects going on at this time, including replacing gutters and downspouts. He also said that the 'CCUSO3 Project' (the expansion of the CCUSO to the entire south wing of the building) is close to finishing and should be ready for clients in the next couple of months. Stowater said they have hired a new electronics specialist, an important position at CCUSO due to the electronic surveillance system.
Stowater also said that his crew remodeled the Voldeng Building in recent months for Jackson Recovery Center's new facility and said they did a very nice job with this project; the elevators have all been updated to bring them in line with all regulations; they have purchased new high pressure steam boilers, but they have not been operating to peak efficiency, and Stowater is hoping to get some emergency funding to help fix that problem; he also said that the two-way radios have been brought up to the new Federal code and they ordered some more, which were assigned to the nursing department.
Staff members in the nursing department, which has never had the radios previously, have been trained in their use, and he and Jane Campbell felt that they will be very helpful,
The meeting concluded with a tour of the CMI courtyard and new playground equipment, which was provided by a former patients' family, with additional funding from the MHI.