This week the Pierce County Council acted on measures that will set frameworks for the County’s work on mental health, homelessness, and environmental stewardship in the coming months and years.
The Council passed a framework for collaboration among health care providers when it comes to mental health care in Pierce County. This framework, known as an Accountable Care Network, will allow mental health providers the option to opt into a network where a percentage of Medicaid dollars remain in Pierce County rather than going back out to Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) across the country. Keeping these funds in the county allows service providers to reinvest in local services to better serve the residents of Pierce County.
The Accountable Care Network extends beyond mental health, including primary and dental health care providers for most Medicaid patients in Pierce County. The Network also allows for smaller community providers to participate by offering more competitive rates than those from an MCO. You can read the ordinance in full here.
On a 7-0 vote, the Council passed a resolution to set in motion a new ad hoc committee to prepare short-term and long-term strategies on reducing homelessness (R2021-30s). With basic representation from our County’s Human Services Department, cities, and service providers, I am confident that this small committee is well-designed to move swiftly towards the kinds of serious action we need to help people in their journey out of homelessness. Homelessness is a humanitarian crisis facing every one of our communities in Pierce County. I believe that we need solutions to homelessness that focus on work, recovery, and accountability, and I look forward to working with fellow Councilmembers and this new committee to take meaningful action.
The Council also approved a “Sustainability 2030” plan that focuses on reducing greenhouse gases in five categories: energy and the built environment, transportation, consumption and waste reduction, and education and outreach. You can read the full plan here.
The ordinance we passed included three amendments I offered. One of my amendments provides cost estimates for action items so we have a sense of what we are dealing with financially as we evaluate these items over time (Amendment 5). Another amendment (Amendment 6) provides intent language to make it clear that the plan is a menu of options but that it is not a regulatory document. In addition, it indicates that more work will need to be done to take the actions laid out under the plan, including further public engagement. A third amendment avoids mandates for home electrification, instead pushing toward the development of tools and incentives.
While the plan is imperfect, with these amendments, I believe that it is a reasonable basis for local action as we seek to be good stewards of our environment.
Independent investigation following incident involving County Sheriff
Under the Pierce County Charter, the County Council has the power to engage in investigations related to County departments, offices, and agencies. Using that power, the Pierce County Council will be pursuing an independent investigation into recent events involving Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer. You can see our release on that from Tuesday here.
Prior to that, our Council chair released a statement last Friday that you can find here. I strongly support this statement. Though the County Sheriff is an independently elected office, I believe that we as a Council have a responsibility to do what we can to promote trust in law enforcement.
Visiting Browns Point