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New organization to address lack of mental health care services in West River
News Staff - March 20, 2017

RAPID CITY, SD – Following public outrage over its decision to stop accepting or treating people with certain kinds of mental illness, Rapid City Regional Hospital officials are teaming up with local law enforcement to address the need for better mental health services in Western South Dakota.

The new coalition – led by both the Rapid City Police Department and the Pennington County Sheriff’s office and Regional Health – is being called the West River Mental Health Alliance.  The first meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, March 22, 2017.

The group is being formed in the wake of two major changes to Regional Health's mental health policies.  Regional’s Behavioral Health Center no longer accepts individuals diagnosed with autism, dementia or Alzheimer’s. In addition, Regional’s hospital no longer accepts uninjured mental health patients.

Current members of the West River Mental Health Alliance  are Pennington County Sheriff Ken Thom, Regional Chief Operating Officer Paulette Davidson, Regional President of Medical Services Mark Harlow and Rapid City Police Chief Karl Jegeris.

Participation in the group is expected to increased following the March 22, 2017 meeting.



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