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Sheboygan mental health center may close due to county's plan to pull funding

Sheboygan County's Health and Human Services Department told Vista Care officials that it would no longer fund the organization past Feb. 1. The department is the center's sole source of funding.
Posted at 9:20 PM, Jan 11, 2023

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. — For the past 21 years, Open Door, a peer support and recovery center in Sheboygan, has been providing vital services to adults dealing with mental health and substance abuse disorders.

"Open Door is a safe place where they are able to develop a natural support network among their peers," said Liz Morrell, the Chief Executive Officer for Vista Care.

Following the management of two previous organizations, Vista Care, a Sheboygan-based healthcare service provider, took over the drop-in center's operations in 2019.

"Currently, we see on average, 40 folks take advantage of Open Doors' services and support on any given day," said Morrell.

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At a time when the need for mental health resources is at an all-time high, a long-time provider in Sheboygan, Open Door, is at risk of shutting down for good.

But in three weeks, the doors may be shut for good after Sheboygan County's Health and Human Services Department told Vista Care officials that it would no longer fund the organization past Feb. 1. The department is the center's sole source of funding.

"At this point, without funding, Open Door is likely to close," said Morrell.

In a response sent from the health and human services department as to why the center may close they wrote, "We have been notified that the cost for those services is significantly increasing this year."

"Sheboygan County contracts with Vista Care to provide a number of services in the community. We have been notified that the cost for those services is significantly increasing this year. We are analyzing and evaluating the service offerings and hope to continue providing services to the greatest extent possible."

— Matt Strittmater, Sheboygan County Health & Human Services Director


"There has been a significant increase in demand for all behavioral health services both since the pandemic and post-pandemic," said Morrell. "From about 2019 to today, we've seen demand in participation increase by over 50% in all of those services."

The department added that they are, "Analyzing and evaluating the service offerings and hope to continue providing services to the greatest extent possible."

But until they know for certain that Open Door will in fact remain open, members with Vista Care say they're weighing all of their options.

"We are committed to ongoing conversation and partnership with Sheboygan County to continue providing this service at a reduced cost," said Morrel. "It is possible that we will choose to continue operations at Open Door for a period of time to ease that transition for those individuals supported. Even if it means doing it at no cost."

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