Fairbanks mental health home to close down

Posted: Wednesday, December 12, 2007

FAIRBANKS - Funding troubles are being blamed for the planned closure of an assisted-living home in Fairbanks for people with severe mental illness.

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Downtown Care Inc. plans to close the Second Avenue housing and treatment center in 30 days.

The organization began providing services almost six years ago through a contract with Fairbanks Community Behavioral Health Center. Problems at the behavioral health center trickled down to Downtown Care after summer Medicaid audits left both agencies without enough money to continue housing clients.

Downtown Care receives 65 percent of its funding through Medicaid, but hasn't been paid since Aug. 8, according to Les Westling, the founder and owner of Downtown Care. The audits forced Westling to return Medicaid funding he had already received. Westling had to cut his staff to meet his budget, but ultimately couldn't cut any more.

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