Tucson behavioral-health agency to experience layoffs - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Tucson behavioral-health agency to experience layoffs

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TUCSON- La Frontera Arizona will layoff 30 employees in January. This comes after cuts to the behavioral-health agency's funding. 

A La Frontera Arizona official confirmed 22 staff positions had been eliminated in December.

Joyce Skubas, a Recovery Support Specialst at La Frontera, said the staff does not know which 30 employees will be cut.

"I would be horrified if I had to be laid off because this is the passion of my life," she said.

Jennifer Dobbertin is a member of La Frontera. She has been receiving services there for five years.

"They do more than just give medications and things like that. They are there for support and without that, we are not going to have anything," said Dobbertin.

 Dobermans said she is also worried about the loss of staff.

"I'd hate to see them go. It would crush me," she said. "I'd have to start all over again."  

A La Frontera Arizona official confirmed the cuts will affect the category of “general mental health and substance abuse”. Funding in that category was reduced from approximately $10 million to approximately $4 million.

Cenpatico Integrated Care, a for-profit subsidiary of publicly traded Centene Corp., distributes federal Medicaid funds through contracts.

Cenpatico Integrated Care works with the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) as a Regional Behavioral Health Authority (RBHA). 

Cenpatico is contracted to serve as the RBHA for La Paz, Yuma, Pima, Pinal, Santa Cruz, Cochise, Graham, and Greenlee Counties. 

A statement provided by Cenpatico reads, "The state has increased funding for mental health services in aggregate. There was a lower demand for services than was anticipated for certain populations. Accordingly, health plans like ours pay providers for services that have been provided and reduce funding if services are not provided. This is all part of the common practice of contractual arrangements. The behavioral health providers are a critical part of this community and we respect the autonomy and right of these providers with whom we contract to make the business decisions they deem necessary and appropriate to manage their own business."

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