Centerstone of Indiana has received funding that’s planned to reduce barriers to behavioral care for Wayne County residents.

Centerstone is one of eight Indiana community health organizations to receive Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic Medicaid Demonstration program funding through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, according to Amanda Mullins, a Wayne County Board of Health member and manager of adult services for Centerstone, during the board’s June 18 meeting. Indiana’s Division of Mental Health and Addiction received $100 million, split equally between 2024 and 2025, according to an Indiana Family & Social Services Administration news release.

Indiana was one of 10 new states awarded funding by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and SAMHSA after developing infrastructure and programs that meet funding standards, according to SAMHSA. Eight states previously received funding.

In Indiana, the eight funded health organizations provide care in 41 of the state’s 92 counties. In addition to Wayne County, Rush, Fayette, Union and Randolph counties are among the 15 counties Centerstone serves.

“One of the great things that this will mean for this community and surrounding communities is we will be working with the city of Richmond, the health department and the county to develop a Stride Center,” Mullins said. “It’s a model that started in Bloomington, which will be a crisis stabilization center, and in addition to that, there will be a mobile crisis response team that will be connected with Stride.”

Mullins said meetings are taking place to determine how the local partnership will work. She called it “very exciting stuff.”

According to the FSSA, the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic model ensures access to behavioral health care; requires routine outpatient care; meets criteria regarding access, quality reporting, staffing and coordination with social services, justice and education systems; and receives funding to support expansion of comprehensive services to meet the need for care.

Participants are required to provide comprehensive mental health and addiction services.

During 2022, Richmond Fire Department implemented a paramedicine program with state grant funding, and that evolved into a mobile integrated health program. Mayor Ron Oler said a request to extend grant funding was denied, essentially ending its work.

Oler said the program’s biggest problem was lack of a local crisis center where individuals could be taken. He said a Stride Center presents a better long-term plan.

Health First Indiana

The board approved amending the health department’s Health First Indiana contract with Reid Health.

When first approving six HFI contracts, the health board removed Reid’s $21,775 request for supervisory time. Wayne County’s commissioners recommended reinstating that request and conditionally approved the Reid contract June 12.

Dr. Paul Rider, chair of the health board, said the board did not consider time necessary to collect data and meet reporting standards. He said Dr. David Jetmore, the county’s health officer, also recommended returning the supervisory funding to the contract.

The board voted 6-0 to return the supervisory money and approve the contract for $260,389. The six contracts approved leave money in the HFI contractual line item. Becca Alliston, the health department’s clinical director, asked board members to think about how they would like that money allocated.

Health programs

Alliston said the department received $197,000 in state funding for its immunization program, even though the department only requested $149,000. The county has a successful child immunization program with 68.2% of children younger than 3 completing their immunization series. That ranks 26th among Indiana’s 92 counties.

The department is working toward a partnership with Richmond Fire Department and Richmond Police Department on car seat safety. It also is working with the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office on two partnerships: provide injectable naloxone, a medication that reverses opiate overdoses, to jail and patrol officers and testing remnants in syringes returned through the syringe exchange program.

The testing with drug identification equipment acquired by the sheriff’s department would help the health department identify if new dangerous substances enter the county. Jetmore said during his report that medetomidine, a veterinary sedative, has been found in people who overdosed, but it has not yet been seen in Wayne County. The overdose symptoms are similar to opioids with respiratory depression, Jetmore said, but naloxone does not reverse a medetomidine overdose.

AmeriCorps agreement

An AmeriCorps worker currently attends the county’s syringe exchange as part of working with Bridges for Life. Now, the county could receive its own AmeriCorps worker.

The board approved pursuing an agreement with AmeriCorps that would provide a worker for 1,700 hours from Sept. 1 through July 31, 2025. It would cost the health department $8,500. The worker would be with the department four days a week, then work on special projects on Fridays.

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A version of this article appeared in the June 26 2024 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Mike Emery is a reporter and layout editor for the Western Wayne News.