The Barling Board of Directors learned more about the Sebastian County Regional Crisis Stabilization Unit on Tuesday.

The board of directors heard from Sebastian County Judge David Hudson during its regular meeting Tuesday. Hudson talked about and answered questions concerning the CSU and an interlocal agreement.

The board voted to table the interlocal agreement during its Aug. 14 meeting. At that meeting, Barling City Administrator Mike Tanner said the board needs to re-evaluate the agreement because it does not really put forth how much it may cost the city of Barling. 

During Tuesday's meeting, Hudson said if the Barling Police Department arrests a person who has a mental illness and books that person into the Sebastian County Adult Detention Center as a misdemeanor violator, the county will send a bill to the city of Barling for $54 for every day that that person is held at the jail. The cost would be much less if the department brings that person to the CSU instead.

"The cost is $5 in this agreement right now because we really don't know what type of uncompensated expense there's going to be," Hudson said.

Hudson explained the CSU is still in its first year of operation. Section 1 of the interlocal agreement states to help defray maintenance and operation costs of the CSU, the counties and cities agree to pay a daily rate of $5 a day for services provided up to the length of stay for each person they deliver to the CSU for treatment.

"It's my understanding right now through this point in time, the grant is basically running the facility, so as far as any outstanding cost, there's very little to any, maybe $1,700," Hudson said.

State funding of $1.6 million annually has been allocated to operate the CSU based on daily billable services to each individual treated and subject to appropriate and eligible reimbursement from Medicaid and other available patient insurance, the agreement states. The cost per day for services for each patient will be determined by actual operations expenses, and will serve as the basis for cost sharing among the six counties and each municipal government utilizing the facility.

"What the interlocal agreement basically does is, if there is a loss, we would share the loss, and the way that we would do that is calculate that amount and divide it by how many people are treated to get a per day rate, and the city of Barling would only be charged the per day rate for the individuals that you'd bring from the city of Barling," Hudson said. "That's all you would pay."

Establishment of the CSU is intended to serve the six county catchment area of Sebastian, Crawford, Franklin, Logan, Scott and Polk counties, as well as each incorporated city in those counties, the agreement states.

"Now, we created what we called ... a stakeholders' round table, and that would include the mayor and the police chief," Hudson said. "Of course, city administrator would be welcome to be engaged in that, and we would meet annually, and review the actual cost from the past year of what it cost to operate and how much money came in. Now, the money would also include not just the grant money, but billing for services, including Medicaid and then any other insurance, and that would be deducted from any loss to determine what the actual cost would need to be to determine that per day rate."

The next regular Barling Board of Directors meeting is scheduled to take place Sept. 25.