SANDUSKY — Firelands Regional Medical Center recently was awarded a $1.36 million primary and behavioral health care integration grant by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, according to a press release from Firelands.
The four-year grant will support the provision of primary care services to uninsured people with severe mental illness in Erie, Huron, Lorain, Ottawa, Seneca, Sandusky and Wyandot counties, according to the release.
Firelands was one of 30 grantees nationwide and one of seven grants recipients in Ohio.
Firelands Counseling and Recovery Services will serve as the patient’s health home to facilitate access to a range of medical services, behavioral health care and community-based social services.
This model of care will emphasize the whole person and will include care management and coordination between all members of the patient’s health care team whose primary goal is to improve the patient’s overall health status and quality of life, the release said.
Firelands Counseling and Recovery Services is funded in part by four mental health and recovery services boards, including the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Erie and Ottawa Counties, the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Seneca, Sandusky and Wyandot Counties, the Alcohol, Drug Addictions and Mental Health Services Board of Huron County and the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Lorain County, according to Marsha Mruk, vice president of Firelands Counseling and Recovery Services and Firelands Regional Medical Center.
“This funding provides mental health and alcohol and drug services to all (people) regardless of (their) ability to pay,” Mruk said. “In light of shrinking government funding for new programs, the … grant will help us integrate much-needed primary care services to (people) who cannot afford basic health care services.”
The Primary and Behavioral Health Care Integration program was established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to look at the whole person by providing primary medical care to uninsured people with long-term mental health problems, according to the release.
The goal of the program is to improve the physical health of adults with serious mental illnesses who are at-risk for co-occurring medical conditions and debilitating chronic diseases. One of the reasons for this initiative is that people with long-term mental illnesses face a life expectancy that is 25 years shorter than the general public in the United States, the release said. The grant also has a strong focus on prevention and wellness programs.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is responsible for managing the program, which has the triple aim of improving the health of individuals with severe mental illness through accurate evaluation and treatment; helping to manage both the mental health and physical health needs of these individuals through quicker access to services; and providing high quality services while reducing the cost of overall care.
Firelands Counseling and Recovery Services is an established provider of inpatient and outpatient behavioral health services. Offering a full spectrum of mental health and chemical dependency services, Firelands has offices located throughout Erie, Huron, Lorain, Ottawa, Sandusky, Seneca and Wyandot counties.