HARRISON, Ark. (KY3) – Burrell Behavioral Health announced it would close four community mental health clinics in northern Arkansas.
The Arkansas clinics include locations in Rogers, Springdale, Harrison and Mountain Home. The Springfield-based services have operated in Arkansas since merging with Youthbridge Inc. in May 2019. Burrell said it’s been “unable to overcome sustained and significant losses in the Arkansas Region while operating at industry best practices.”
Burrell is essential in providing child behavioral therapy through local school districts.
“We have a large population of our students who receive mental health services through Burrell. They have been big advocates of our students in helping them with whatever mental health issues they’re dealing with,” said Dr. Ryan Huff, superintendent of Omaha Schools. “It’s more of a band-aid approach at this point. We’re going to be offering telemedicine. Whenever you’re talking about mental health services, you need that counselor or one-on-one therapist meeting with that kid, face to face is very important.”
Small school districts like Omaha and Alpena are left to find a replacement. The closings create a lot of concern for parents of the children.
”Already in Boone County, there’s such a shortage for therapists, and it’s going to be even worse now that Burrell is paying them to go to Missouri,’ said a Boone County parent with multiple children that receive some type of therapy. “Burrell advertises all the time that they’re trauma-informed and that they want to be there when the trauma hits. But what they’re doing is causing an even bigger trauma in this area.”
Burrell Behavior provided a KY3 a statement which reads in full:
”Burrell Behavioral Health has made the incredibly difficult decision to close our in-person clinics and terminate client services in Arkansas effective June 30, 2022.
We acknowledge the disruption and inconvenience this decision causes partners and clients in Arkansas, however, our sustained and significant financial losses in the state have made it unavoidable. Our clients’ continuation of care is our most important concern at this time, and we are committed to helping them find alternative resources in their community.
Burrell’s Arkansas employees who are able to earn dual licensure have the option to stay with Burrell and serve Missouri clients remotely. However, Burrell is not preventing those who wish to remain with their assigned districts or work for other local providers, from doing so. We feel strongly that these providers are doing meaningful work and are proud for them to continue to serve in their areas of passion and expertise, whether that is at Burrell or elsewhere.
Finally, because Missouri has implemented a system of care that ensures seamless integration of quality care and sustainable structures, these closings in no way impact services or access to services across the rest of our system.
Yet many continue to search for what’s next.
”Long term, I would like to see somebody here on staff, either on staff or contracted, to provide services full time here on campus,” said the same parent.
Of about 85 employees in Arkansas, 42 will lose their jobs with a chance to apply for open positions at Burrell, working either remotely or moving to Missouri. The rest, who are eligible to get licensed in Missouri and Arkansas, will have the opportunity to stay with Burrell and offer virtual services in Missouri.
Burrell plans to keep its Rogers office open as a “landing spot” for virtual providers serving clients in Missouri. It will not physically offer client services there.
Omaha School District says it will provide telemedicine therapy. It also features a ‘para-professional therapist” on campus in the fall through Chenal Family Therapy in Harrison.
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