County votes to fund mental health clinic
The Pinellas County Commission voted Tuesday to continue funding one of the county's largest privately-run mental health clinics, where people are taken if they're deemed a danger to themselves or others.
Funding for the nonprofit PEMHS, for Personal Enrichment Through Mental Health Services, has been an open question for months. Last December, the commission funded the clinic's Baker Act facility through the end of March to give its staff time to examine and possibly alter public spending on services for the mentally ill. On Tuesday, the commission authorized another six months of funding, roughly $847,000.
But when the fiscal year ends in September, county officials say they want others to pitch in.
"We've seen a shift from some of the private hospitals to PEMHS, making PEMHS much more of a receiving facility," said Tim Burns, the director of Pinellas's justice and consumer services division. The result, he said, is the hospitals are saving money while the county continues to spend it.