Proposed Solution for Mental Health Hospitals is Expensive

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Due to the overcrowding in state and mental health hospitals, counties all over the state are feeling the pressures due to court orders to house mental health patients in county jails until bed space is available.

It is a pressure that Lauderdale County officials are concerned about due to the liabilities that come with housing such patients in the jail, but they say they have no other option.

On Thursday, Karl Hensel with the Alliance health center proposed a possible solution to the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors in an effort to remedy those concerns.

"Our goal is that these people need to be stabilized and put back in their homes," said Henzel.

That goal would cost the county nearly $450 a day to house the current seven mental patients in the county at Alliance Hospital. It’s a cost that the county says is not an option.

"That could really upset a county budget," said Supervisor Ray Boswell.

"I'm just making an offer to you letting you know that we are available and we except the patient and bill their insurance until it runs out and then we fill the county should take of it," replied Henzel.

Currently four other counties are using the facility but only have between 1 and 4 patients to house. As it stand right now, the wait for a female to be admitted into the state hospital is a three to five week wait from the committal date and a six to ten week period for a male to be admitted.