County wants more discussions about Centerstone contract

Bartholomew County’s 2017 contract with Centerstone Behavioral Health Services underwent a number of revisions this week, mere days before terms of the contract expire.

The most significant change calls for the non-profit to be paid to treat indigent residents battling addictions, not just people with mental health problems, county commissioner chairman Carl Lienhoop said.

Centerstone is due to receive $590,039 for 2017 from property tax revenue collected through its own separate levy, Bartholomew County Auditor Barb Hackman said. It’s an amount comparable with what the provider has received in previous years.

Since another agreement will have to be signed after the first of the year, Lienhoop said the revisions have little consequence, and were made simply to authorize final 2017 payments.

But after Centerstone announced that it had acquired two grants to bolster addiction-treatment programs, and confirmed it was trying to purchase a building in Columbus to serve as a medical-addictions treatment program, the nonprofit is making clear it wants to be a significant player in addressing the local opioid crisis, Lienhoop said.

“There will be a lot brought to the table and a lot of discussion (regarding the new contract) during the first six months of 2018,” Lienhoop said.

For more on this story, see Saturday’s Republic.

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Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at mwebber@therepublic.com or 812-379-5636.