Audit results of Valley Mental Health positive, Salt County mayor says

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Salt Lake County Mental Health Services is heading in the right direction, according to Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams.

The results of an independent, four-month-long audit were released Tuesday. The audit cost tax payers $50,000.

The audit was initiated by the county after Valley Mental Health sent out 2,200 letters last year, warning clients that they could lose their services. It was in the wake of the county's transition to a new contractor, OptumHealth.

"For the last year I've been really frustrated," said Brian Nilson, a client of Valley Mental Health since the mid ‘90s.

Nilson has depended on the county a lot.

"Drugs and alcohol, yea, schizophrenia, a lot of voices, delusions," he said.

Nilson has been sober for the past five years. He said it wouldn't be possible if it weren't for Valley Mental Health. They reached out to him while he was serving time in jail.

"I was on a bad road, when they found me I was actually suicidal, I was just trying to commit suicide," Nilson said.

Fortunately, Nilson's services will remain intact, but 730 others will lose theirs.

The county says none of these people will slip through the cracks.

"We really made every effort possible to make sure each client is connected to services," said Tim Whalen, Director of Mental Behavioral Services.

McAdams said the audit is very positive.

"The full report states that most of the transitional problems that can occur when we decide to manage differently are now resolved," McAdams said.

McAdams said there are a number of benefits to their new system that will help their clients.

"The decision to move to a managed care model resulted in some major positive accomplishments, including one we are able to provide greater choices for consumers seeking their specific needs, we doubled the number of providers in the network we have more than 200 network providers," McAdams said.