In­terim di­rec­tor Hill pro­moted to state men­tal health chief

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST ARKANSAS - ANDY DAVIS

The in­terim di­rec­tor in charge of pub­licly funded men­tal health ser­vices in Ar­kan­sas was pro­moted to di­rec­tor on Thurs­day.

Jay Hill has “done an ex­cel­lent job” as in­terim di­rec­tor of the state Depart­ment of Hu­man Ser­vices’ Di­vi­sion of Be­hav­ior Health Ser­vices, depart­ment Di­rec­tor Cindy Gillespie said.

“I’m thrilled he’s will­ing to take” the per­ma­nent job ti­tle, she said.

Gillespie made the an­nounce­ment at a meet­ing of the state’s In­sti­tu­tional Sys­tem Board, which man­ages the depart­ment’s men­tal health and youth ser­vices fa­cil­i­ties.

Hill, 45, be­came in­terim di­rec­tor of the Be­hav­ioral Health Ser­vices Di­vi­sion in Jan­uary, after the pre­vi­ous di­rec­tor, Char­lie Green, re­signed for a job with a pri­vate men­tal health and sub­stance abuse treat­ment provider.

The di­vi­sion man­ages the State Hospi­tal in Lit­tle Rock, the Ar­kan­sas Health Cen­ter near Haskell and sup­ports men­tal health and sub­stance abuse treat­ment pro­grams across the state.

Be­fore be­com­ing in­terim di­rec­tor, Hill was in charge of the Health Cen­ter, a staterun nurs­ing home for el­derly peo­ple with men­tal ill­ness and other med­i­cal needs.

When he took the in­terim po­si­tion, his an­nual salary in­creased from $86,635 to $108,109, Hu­man Ser­vices Depart­ment spokesman Brandi Hin­kle said. The pro­mo­tion to per­ma­nent di­rec­tor didn’t come with a pay raise, she said.

Act 913 of this year will merge the Be­hav­ioral Health Ser­vices Di­vi­sion with the Di­vi­sion of Ag­ing and Adult Ser­vices, cre­at­ing the Di­vi­sion of Ag­ing, Adult and Be­hav­ioral Health Ser­vices.

Hill will lead that di­vi­sion, while Ag­ing and Adult Ser­vices Di­rec­tor Craig Cloud will be in charge of a planned Di­vi­sion of Provider Ser­vices and Qual­ity As­sur­ance, Gillespie said.

Cloud’s di­vi­sion will be in charge of fa­cil­ity in­spec­tions that are now con­ducted by sev­eral dif­fer­ent di­vi­sions, Gillespie said. It will also study the work­force needs of the depart­ment and health care providers, she said.

She said depart­ment of­fi­cials are still work­ing on the de­tails of the re­or­ga­ni­za­tion.

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