On Tuesday, a representative from the Measure B Oversight Committee will present a summary of the Measure B committee’s recommendations from their most recent meeting. That rep will perhaps be Sheriff Allman, the man who got the measure passed, perhaps it will be newly appointed Measure B Committee Chair Dr. Ace Barash of Willits.
If you came in late, real late, the purpose of Measure B was to establish an in-county, lock-up psychiatric facility. County voters agreed by the necessary two-thirds majority, to fund it. That vote occurred in November of 2017. Much obfuscation, some of it deliberate, has stymied realization of voter approval of Mendocino County’s very own psychiatric responsibility for our very own psychiatric casualties.
The latest recommendations from the Measure B advisory committee are, essentially, to follow the advice of the Kemper report, which prioritizes “crisis” services over a “Psychiatric Health Facility.” These crisis services now being provided by Camille Schraeder and her team via her public/private Redwood Community Services (RCS) which was expected to be headquartered at the Orchard Avenue parcel where RCS got $380,000 in grant money from the County to build a crisis support/residential treatment center, with another, larger grant that the County was applying for to get it all done. But that second, larger, grant never came through, and the Orchard Avenue Crisis Center has been on hold pending money to build it.
Enter Measure B and its accumulating sales tax millions. Add Kemper with his priority on Crisis Services and mix in the Measure B committee and its majority support for Crisis Services, only available via Camille Schraeder's Redwood Community Services (RCS). What do you get? Confusion.
Voters wanted a lock-up psychiatric facility. But now it all seems headed for crisis intervention, services theoretically already offered by Mr. and Mrs. Schraeder.
But how to proceed with the design and construction of the crisis facility on the empty Orchard Avenue parcel that is a long way from getting built?
Enter local industrialist Ross Liberty, former Supervisor Dan Hamburg’s libertarian appointee to the Measure B committee. (Liberty is also being spoken of as a candidate to replace 1st District Supervisor Carre Brown when she retires at the end of 2020.) Liberty owns an exhaust pipe manufacturing business on a corner of the old Masonite property north of Ukiah. Liberty and some investors bought much of the Masonite property at a garage sale price a few years ago in hopes of developing it, which they are in fact doing, albeit slowly.
Liberty: "Probably the odds-on favorite for being the operator [of the proposed Mental Health Crisis Facility in Ukiah] is RCS (Redwood Community Services) and RCS owns the design... And, full disclosure, we talked a little bit about this. They own the design. I think that the kind of odds-on favorite for being the operator [RCS] has a recommended design and that should probably be something we want to look at. But they own the actual property and so we would have to ask that that be available and as part of using that to go out for a biddable design. If we're going to use that [RCS property] we can't do that without their blessing, so we understand that. I am not an intellectual property attorney but I'm pretty sure that you guys [RCS] own the intellectual property and actually, Mark [Mertle, another Measure B committee member], you have an understanding of that, right? They have a design, they have a rough design and that could not be available —"
Mark Mertle (Owner of Fort Bragg Electrical): “It's not ours it’s theirs.”
Liberty: “Right. So if we were to advertise with that design we would probably have to get your [RCS’s] permission to use it.”
Mertle: “I don't think we need the design. We can say we want this many square feet with this type of rooms and this type of — and they can detail that out that this is what we want, how much to design and build it? I don't know who's going to do that, but – [laughs].”
Liberty: “That's the problem, based on the starter design. We are going to go out for a biddable design and also beware that if we ask for a biddable design it is going to cost close to $1 million for the design itself for them, the paperwork.”
RCS doesn’t seem as interested in their “intellectual property” as Mr. Liberty does.
Dan Anderson, Chief Operations Officer, Redwood Community Services: “I appreciate the complexity and difficulty of this. I empathize and I am grateful for you guys trying to figure this out. I just want to respond to a comment that Ross said about intellectual property and the work that RCS has put into this. Our priority is to get the service out to our community and our clients. We have invested a lot of money in this. (RCS money is public money, a fact that can't be repeated often or emphatically enough.) It's what we do. And I don't think we have a problem in supporting or sharing the work that we've done on the design and integrating that. I just want the commission [Measure B committee] to know that. And as far as the Orchard Avenue property goes, we put the grant together with the county. So we would not have a problem with saying, Take the property back and let's do this together. One of the good things that happened in the last few years is the level of partnering and the level of public and private involved in RCS. We will work it out. We will work together and do whatever needs to be done here to bring this service to our community. That's what's important, not who gets what.”
I am not an intellectual property attorney either. But I’m pretty sure that if somebody buys something with government money for a government purpose and then spends other government money to develop it, then the government owns the rights to that “property.”
But that doesn’t matter to “odds-on favorite” RCS since it’s starting to look more and more like the Measure B money is going to go to Mendo’s cozy Mental Health partner, RCS, to build and operate a crisis facility in Ukiah. Sheriff Allman’s dream of converting the Old Howard Hospital in Willits in a newer version of the County’s old PHF on Bush Street, Ukiah, will have to take a back seat to RCS and its well-oiled, growing list of supporters on the Measure B committee. (Not to mention County CEO Angelo and a rubber stamp board of supervisors.)
Nobody knows how much converting the old Howard Hospital into a PHF will cost (nobody has asked for an independent estimate), but by the time RCS and the crisis facility is up and running, there probably won’t be much left for a PHF, the in-county psych unit that Mendocino County voters thought they would get when they passed Measure B. It's all headed to some kind of multi-purpose service facility overseen by the public/private enterprise owned by Mr. and Mrs. Schraeder.
Mr. and Mrs. Schraeder were handing $20 million annual dollars to privately assume mental health responsibilities for Mendocino County, either a very large gift of public funds or a large local experiment in publicly-funded free enterprise.
All the irrelevant chatter about the design of the Orchard Street property being the "intellectual property" of the Schraeders, aka RCS, is wacky in the extreme. As Mr. Mertle of the Measure B oversight committee pointed out, the basic industrial box design characteristic of government buildings is hardly an "intellectual property" but more like a child's Lego project — add however many rooms on to the basic box as needed. And there's no reason that a half-dozen to a dozen little boxes — cells to house the deranged — while these doomed souls wait for the quack, er, psychiatrist/pill dispenser, to adjust their meds, typically a zombo-izing process to make the difficult "manageable." (Please see the writing of Dr. Peter Breggin and maybe have another look at One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.)
Cutting through the usual Mendo blah-blah, when Sheriff Allman was beating the drums for Measure B he made it clear what many of us already knew — there is an increasing number of crazy people — from illness or drugs or both — on the street and in their homes, whatever those might be.
Currently, Mendocino County ships its insane needing urgent lockup to out of county facilities that charge upwards of $800 a day to make them docile enough to return to Mendocino County. We can do that here, closer to everyone’s home, hence Measure B.
In the present Mendo context of a secretive, privatized, unaccountable mental health apparatus that we find in RCS, we think it is crucial that the Sheriff and the Measure B committee not cede authority for an in-county mental health facility to Mr. and Mrs. Schraeder.
from the Redwood Community Services website
- Timothy Schraeder, Chief Executive Officer
- Camille Schraeder, Chief Financial Officer
- Daniel Anderson, Chief Operations Officer
- Dr. Rebecca Timme, Chief Psychiatric Consultant
- Alicia Logan, Business and HR Administrator
- Lynn Sallee, Financial Specialist
- Mary Yovino, Program Administrator
- Sue Ruddick, In-Patient Utilization Specialist
- Sarah Walsh, Data & Contract Analyst
- Lois LaDelle-Daly, Compliance and QA/QI Coordinator
- Danielle Lower, Electronic Health Record Manager
- Leandra Corpuz, Medical Assistant
- Amanda Hiatt, Records Analyst
- Celene Mendoza, Records Analyst
- Rebecca Wilson, Care Coordination Specialist
- Tanya Thurman, Medical Assistant
- Michael Capistrano, Data Analyst
- Nancy Riggs, Billing Coordinator
- Joey Mertle, IT Specialist
- Noelani Borecky, Intake Analyst
- Nicole Dunaway, Medical Assistant
- Mylee Borecky, Program Analyst
- Julia Eagles, Medical Assistant
- Sandra Lopez, Registered Nurse
- John Garratt, Medical Doctor
- Olga Seagal, Medical Doctor
- Larry Aguirre, Physicians Assistant
The above operation is worth somewhere around $20 million a year in privatized public money.
Rebecca Wilson. That’s Becky Wilson, former HHSA deputy director, now “retired” from the County and presumably drawing a nice pension on top of whatever she’s paid as part of Team Schraeder.
Joey Mertle? Any relation to Mark Mertle on the Measure B committee?
Dr. John Garratt is a psychiatrist with a practice listed for Coast Hospital who lives in Comptche. An internet post says he’s been in practice for 49 years. Until recently Dr. John Garratt was Chief Psychiatrist of Mendocino County before he went to work for RCS.
Dr. Olga Seagal [misspelled, actually it’s Segal) lives in Mill Valley and specializes in telepsychiatry.
According to the Kemper report, Garratt and Segal were paid $211k via RCS for whatever they did in FY 2018. (Last fiscal year.)
Interesting to see how much money was spent on telepsychiatry. Why? I’m a couple of years past retirement, but in my time the few psychiatrists in the area only saw patients with great insurance or cash. This excluded the bulk of the patients in this area, obviously, who were in crisis. Emergency room doctors as you know became de facto psychiatrists. Patients discharged from the ER needed follow up and that’s where this telepsychiatry thing comes in. In my experience it was pretty tough to get a psyche patient to schedule an appointment with… nobody there. But I guess enough did that these telepsychiatrists had a lot of billable hours. Doubt there are any studies showing efficacy yay or nay for telepsychatry. The real problem for me was the cherry-picking done by the practicing psychiatrists in the area, they weren’t really part of the local medical community, nor, in my mind, part of the larger community at all. (Other than those who came and went from MCHC). I could name names but you can just look up the psychiatrists in private practice in the yellow pages. Happy to admit I’m wrong but I doubt we haven’t heard much from them in all the public discussions about the community’s mental health crisis.
ED REPLY: The entire Team Schraeder enterprise should be carefully audited by the feds. Off the top, it seems to me that Mendo is not getting the services $20-plus annual million theoretically pays for. The telepsychiatry, or “doc in a box,” is a total rip and should be separately investigated as the obvious scam it is.
“Emergency room doctors as you know became de facto psychiatrists.”
In my opinion, people are better served by GPs than by psychiatrists; the latter spend their time dreaming up new “mental” ailments that can be “treated” with the latest, most expensive drugs produced by kaputalist medicine (with the tab for basic research leading to the drugs having been picked up by taxpayers). Organized Medicine is out of control under kaputalism, and it’s getting worse by the second. It’s nothing new. Old Sinclair Lewis described it well in Arrowsmith, back in the 1920s.
I often wonder just how much better things would be today if, in the 1980s, people had revolted rather than chickening out and turning to prescription drugs to “treat”– actually cover up–their hard-earned depression. Depression is a symptom of something being wrong in a person’s environment; it is not a sign that something is wrong with the individual. Now we’re a nation of fools who think all is well, thanks to trash drugs, like Paxil. It’s something to be expected of people who consider themselves to be “exceptional” and are just unwilling to face reality. Just keep wavin’ that flag, boys and girls. Everything’s gonna be all right … and don’t forget to take your daily dose of Soma.
Scott Taubold a Clinical Psychologist Specialist in Fort Bragg posted on social media:
Is it going to be a locked facility of not? I can’t believe Allman would agree to this. I’ve worked in half/assed CSUs etc. It has got to be a locked PHF unit or nothing at all!
There is a need for a locked facility and now the county or whoever, has watered down the original Measure B into a Crisis Stabilization Unit or Crisis resolution unit. We have had all three in this County. CSU and CRU folded in favor of the locked unit. If someone is critical and DTS or DTO [Danger to Self/Danger to Others], they need to be in a locked unit and that is what we voted for in Measure B, not any watered down version of a crisis unit!
Judy, did you read what you voted for, No where in the Measure B text is a locked facility mentioned, You and a lot of other sheep were led astray by your charismatic Sheriff Allman and local news media. Not everybody reads the AVA are attends Allman’s pep rallies, a lot of voters voted on the measure as it was written.
FULL TEXT OF MEASURE B
“Ordinance of the County of Mendocno, State of California, adding Chapter 5.180 to the Mendocino County Code entitled the “Mental Health Treatment Act” adopting a county transactions (sales) and use tax for the specific purpose of funding improved services, treatment and facilities for persons with mental health conditions”
E. “For a period of five (5) years a maximum of 75% of the revenue deposited into the Mental Health Treatment Fund may be used for facilities, with not less than 25% dedicated to services and treatment; thereafter 100% of all revenue deposited into the Mental Health Treatment Fund shall be used for ongoing operations, services and treatment.”
On numerous occasions Camille Schraeder has stated that she is willing to sign the deed back over to the County. She doesn’t want to get stuck with having to return the 380 thousand grant money and left with the 1.5 million still owed on the vacant lot, yes she only made a down payment. Right now she would happily give it to the County to use Measure B funds as long as she gets the Operations Contract. Jan McGourty is already pushing that if Measure B folks approve the Orchard Project that a RFP should go out to bid as to who the operator will be and for how much. Staffing the Orchard Project is not going to be easy. More will be revealed.
“LAZARUS” (Willits resident):
The Schraeder’s are putting out an impressive proposal. Several M.D.s giving them props, buddies with several Measure B members and others. Sitting on a doable plan in the heart of the county. Many years of experience, bailed the BoS out of Ortner Group and Tommy P mess…
And then there’s ole Howard, a 90 plus-year-old money pit, with less than convincing promoters, with the exception of Sheriff Allman, and of late many wonder about that and him. The slam dunk for ole Howard last spring has dissolved into WTF happened? Some of the locals are convinced the Howard bunch and the Sheriff figured they’d be building by now, but “up jumped the devil”, and the money? Well, it didn’t talk, it swore, to garble the great Bob Dylan.
For the first time, the old hospital on Dora St. was put in the mix, not a terrible idea. Who knows, Adventist Health in Ukiah may play eventually.
The Coast wanting a piece too, poor Covelo gone begg’n, they say folks killing themselves for lack of local mental health care.
Meanwhile, nothing is said about that grant money building that’s coming for the Sheriff, it’s like it’s non-existent, no bragging bull shit about it, no nothing.
One thing is for sure though, The Schraeder’s operation in some way will end up with a goodly chunk of that money, write it down… They’re smart, prepared, and know how to play the game, whether the “Street” likes it or not…
If you’re interested in team RCS’s Assets and Liabilities you should take a look at their 2017 Audit Report. Makes me wonder what Camille’s for-profit agency (RQMC) is doing with the other $11 million plus the county gifted her.
RCS brought down $25 million alone in 2017, nearly $9 million from RQMC alone.
Fees from government agencies for the year ended December 31, 2017
Related Party Transactions
RCS subcontracts its Mendocino County Mental Health contracts from Redwood Quality Management Company, Inc. (“RQM”), an independent for-profit company. RCS’ Chief Executive Officer is one of the three shareholders of RQM, which was incorporated to bid for and administer Mendocino County Mental Health contracts for all Behavioral Health Organizational Providers. RCS earned $7,848,014 in mental health and other contract revenues administered by RQM. Outstanding contract amounts due from RQM at December 31, 2017 was $1,042,007.
Read the entire document. I don’t have any idea why they call RQMC an independent for-profit agency when the Shraeders run both of them. The 2018 audit is not available yet.