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Gulf Coast working to transfer client records to Pine Belt

The Gulf Coast Mental Health Center in Picayune is transferring medical records for a little over 700 patients to Pine Belt Mental Healthcare Resources as part of a recent change initiated by the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors.

In August, the Board of Supervisors decided to change the county’s mental health region due to the agency’s recent financial issues that almost caused its collapse, so Gulf Coast will no longer be the mental health provider for Pearl River County, according to previous coverage. As a result of the change, Pine Belt Mental Health Resources will provide the county’s mental health services beginning Oct. 1, according to previous coverage.

Staff at Gulf Coast Mental Health Center in Picayune are making copies of clients’ most important medical information like medications and treatment plans, processing them and giving them to Pine Belt, said Rebecca Law, Director of the Pearl River County Gulf Coast Mental Health Center.

However, to transfer medical records, which Pine Belt will need to get clients into their system, the health center needs clients to sign releases, Law said.

Any current client can come by the office to sign a release, Law said. The office will also send out letters, she said, and is already asking clients who come to the center to sign releases during their visit. Any clients with questions about the transfer process can call the center.

The center is focused on transferring its most vulnerable patients first, Law said. Vulnerable patients may be people who are at risk of being hospitalized or have been unstable for the last year.

Many clients are stable and only need to be seen on a three-month basis, Law said, so some may not need mental health services until December.

“The most important thing is to get Pine Belt the information they need to get their cases open as soon as possible,” Law said. “It’s not going to be possible for them to get 700 cases open in one day on October first.”

Pine Belt and Gulf Coast are working together to ensure the transition goes smoothly, Law said. Law believes the clients will be well taken care of by Pine Belt.

Pine Belt will be opening a location in Picayune, said County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin, but they have not decided on a building yet.