Keep NCHC, sort of, says consultant

Marathon County released on its website this week the human services assessment report commissioned from Morningside Research and Consulting. It’s verdict? Keep North Central Health Care around. More or less.

The consultant advises not starting a separate human services department as the county voted to explore, but did suggest that the county end its existing contract with NCHC, and contract for individual services through the organization. That allows for better accountability because each service would gather proposals and be vetted through a public process. It’s also a much less expensive option than forming an entire new department.

The report also recommended that Marathon County break off Mount View Health Care Center, the county’s nursing home, from NCHC and have that facility’s director report to the county administrator.

The consultant weighed three options in its report: The county forming its own human services department and dissolving its relationship with NCHC; keeping things they way they are now; or contracting for individual services through NCHC. The contracting option came out a clear winner, scoring 85 out of 100 points; the other two each scored 50 points in a matrix that looked at such things as transition costs, ongoing costs and public accountability.

Marathon County voted in February to explore dissolving its relationship with NCHC and starting its own human services department after allegations that NCHC wasn’t properly handing mental health and addiction services.

The county board will hold a special meeting Monday to discuss the report.