Buncombe County Commissioners preview: Health care edition

At its May 3 meeting, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners is set to hear a pair of reports that deal with different aspects of county health care: One on Western North Carolina Community Health Services (WNCCHS) and another on the state of local Adult Care homes.

Since January 2010, many of the Buncombe County Health Department’s physicians and services have transferred over to WNCCHS, a nonprofit which qualifies for a higher federal-reimbursement rate. According to the report, the transfer has resulted in increased adult patient capacity and more efficient leveraging of federal funds. The county plans to transfer more services there this year as part of its ongoing efforts to reshuffle the department.

According to the report by the Buncombe County Adult Care Home Community Advisory Committee, the county has more Adult Care homes than any other county in the state: 82. The facilities serve a total of 1,240 residents, and are designed to provide care to an older or physically challenged population. However, the report says that committee members are “alarmed”  that the homes are being increasingly populated by younger, mentally ill residents.

“The supervisors and staff of adult care and family care homes do not have appropriate training to handle residents with severe, persistent mental illness, thus endangering everyone in the home, including staff,” it reads. “Training of any kind for supervisors and staff is minimal, and staff turnover can be high due to the demands of caring for the needs of the residents and the facility.”

In other business, the commissioners will consider a pair of rezoning requests and hear an update on a plan to build a bioreactor that would harness gasses released at the Buncombe County landfill to generate electricity.

The board will meet at 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 3, in the commissioner’s chambers, located at 30 Valley St. A short pre-meeting review of the agenda will begin at 4:15 p.m.


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About Jake Frankel
Jake Frankel is an award-winning journalist who enjoys covering a wide range of topics, from politics and government to business, education and entertainment.

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