County Board approves 6.5 percent increase to county contract for substance abuse treatment

WILLMAR -- The Kandiyohi County Commissioners reluctantly agreed Tuesday to approve a 6.5 percent rate increase as part of a contract with a state program to treat people with chemical addictions.

WILLMAR -- The Kandiyohi County Commissioners reluctantly agreed Tuesday to approve a 6.5 percent rate increase as part of a contract with a state program to treat people with chemical addictions.

The contract is with the Community Addiction and Recovery Enterprise of Willmar, which is located on the Willmar Regional Treatment Center campus and formerly called the Bradley Center.

Commissioner Richard Falk said he would vote for the rate increase "once" but didn't want to see another large rate increase in the future.

Chairman Dean Shuck said it was unusual to see such a large rate increase in one year for a service contract.

Larry Kleindl, family services director, said it's valuable to have the services in Willmar but he was concerned the state would price itself out of business.


Jennifer Collins, from the treatment facility, said the rate increase will give the center a financially feasible operating margin of 2.3 percent.

She said the center had a negative operating margin in the past and the rate increase would bring that to a positive side. She also said the cost for services is still low compared to private services.

Along with the transition of moving adult mental health programs off regional treatment centers, Collins said the state is also making changes in its enterprise programs that provide treatment for chemical addictions.

The Bradley Center, Medallion and Cardinal programs are now all called the Community Addiction Recovery Enterprise. All state operated substance abuse programs will go by that name, Collins said.

Collins said the program is also disengaging itself from the support services that had been offered by the Willmar Regional Treatment Center, which she called the "mother ship."

Local doctors, pharmacies and medical labs now provide service to the center, she said, and they have hired their own psychiatrist.

The commissioners also approved a contract with Project Turnabout to provide a new out-patient service for chemical addiction recovery in Willmar.

Michelle Tejda, from the center, said the number of people utilizing the service continues to increase and that increased use of methamphetamine has resulted in situations that require more security during the visitations.


She said the center has had to hire private security, which has increased the cost of the service.

In other action the commissioners:

- Were informed the bond to finance the new $4.1 million 16-bed psychiatric hospital in Willmar will likely go against the county's $10 million maximum bonding limit, even if the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission sells the bond.

Given that circumstance, Commissioner Richard Falk suggested that the county, and not the EDC, carry out the project.

- Were informed that Kleindl, who is taking over as the county administrator in 2007, is implementing a new system of informing the media and the public about meetings that involve the commissioners. He said department heads will notify the administrator's office about meetings and his office will send press releases to the media. The action is being taken to avoid potential open law meeting violations.

- Agreed to appoint Dr. Lyle Munneke as the county coroner in 2007. The action is a formality and includes new verbiage in response to a new state law that includes different definitions and requirements for a coroner and a medical examiner. Munneke is currently called the county's medical examiner.

Carolyn Lange is a features writer at the West Central Tribune. She can be reached at or 320-894-9750
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