SC Department of Mental Health News Release

For Immediate Release
January 28, 2003

Contact: John Hutto, Director of Communications
                E-mail: JHH35@CO.DMH.STATE.SC.US


SCDMH Welcomes LAC Recommendations

Columbia, SC: Today, at the South Carolina Department of Mental Health (SCDMH), State Mental Health Director George P. Gintoli said that the SCDMH “commends the Legislative Audit Council for its conscientious and thoughtful report on the health and human services agencies and welcomes the recommendations provided.”

Mr. Gintoli said further that he looks “forward to participating in the implementation of the LAC’s recommendations and believes the outcome will be a better service delivery system for the citizens of South Carolina.”

Management at SCDMH said that many of the issues identified in the report are issues that SCDMH has identified previously and which the Department continues to address, such as the development of performance measures. The Department’s Division of Education, Training and Research is currently developing a set of “dashboard” indicators for management in order to improve oversight of the statewide mental health system. This effort includes benchmarking against national mental health data, an effort in which South Carolina has been a leader.

Further, SCDMH said that in spite of budget cuts and loss of administrative staff, the Department believes, as recommended, that it will be able to improve on the amount of money it collects from clients. It has recently implemented new financial systems that will help it to improve collections as well as comply with all state and federal financial regulations. Also, the Department has initiated the Setoff Debt program through the Department of Revenue. This program has proven successful, generating about $230,000 last year.

The South Carolina Department of Mental Health with its 5,100 employees and 9,500 volunteers provides services through a statewide network of 17 community mental health centers and 7 inpatient facilities. Last year, the Department served about 100,000 South Carolinians, including 33,000 children and adolescents.

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