The Four County ADAMhs Board took the first step at its meeting May 10 to place a seven-tenths mill renewal levy on the November ballot by passing a resolution asking the Defiance County auditor to certify the district’s current valuation and the amount of revenue that a renewal of the levy set to expire in 2019 would yield.
That millage currently generates $1.7 million a year. Together with another seven-tenths mill levy, the board receives $3.87 million in local property taxes, which represents about 48 percent of its total budget.
Board CEO Les McCaslin told the board that two major grants have been received.
The board has been awarded a federal grant totaling $285,000 that can be spent for any purpose relating to a substance use disorder.
And, the board has received a state grant totaling $300,000 that must be allocated to local courts to support substance use disorder services or programming. He said the Fulton County drug court would receive $150,000 of the money and the Henry County family court and Williams County juvenile court would each receive $75,000.
Janis Sunderhaus, the CEO of Health Partners of Western Ohio, updated the ADAMhs Board on services provided by the Bryan and Defiance community health centers that their agency operates.
She explained that they opened the first integrated primary care and mental health centers in 2014 in partnership with the Four County ADAMhs Board. During their first full year of operation in 2015, the centers served 1,200 persons and provided 5,400 visits. In 2016 when they opened the Bryan Community Health Center, their numbers increased to 3,444 patients and 15,000 visits. Last year, they served nearly 4,000 patients and provided more than 15,000 visits.
“We’re really happy with how things are going,” Sunderhaus said.
The increase in opioid use presented a new challenge for the centers, she said. The health centers had one physician certified to provide medication assisted treatment for patients with substance use disorders. She explained that they decided to treat patients with opioid issues as they would any other chronic problem.
Subsequently, 85 percent of their primary care providers (both physicians and nurse practitioners) are now approved to provide medication assisted treatment for any patient with a substance use disorder.
Health Partners’ patients can now access primary health care, behavioral healthcare, dental, pharmacy and a variety of pain management services, including chiropractic care and massage therapy.
Board CEO Les McCaslin added that while the partnership was started to assure that behavioral health clients would have access to primary health care, the community has benefitted as well. “Many of the patients being served by Health Partners in Bryan and Defiance are not from the behavioral healthcare system. They are serving the entire community – children and adults who needed a primary care doctor or a dentist who accepted their insurance.”
Health Partners of Western Ohio is a federal qualified health center, which means they accept nearly all insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid, as well as offer services on a sliding fee schedule.
Later in the meeting, the ADAMhs Board approved a $135,000 expenditure that will allow Health Partners of Western Ohio to expand its reach to children throughout the four county area. A mobile van will be purchased that is fully equipped to provide dental, vision and behavioral health screens at schools and in the communities where children live.
McCaslin explained that mobile healthcare will go to where the children are to provide screening and identify health needs instead of requiring parents to bring children to one of the health centers.
McCaslin also updated the board on the transition of behavioral health services from Family Services of Northwest Ohio, which closed on May 1, to other agencies. He explained that the transition is going “remarkably smoothly” with A Renewed Mind Behavioral Health picking up all of the crisis care services and Maumee Valley Guidance Center picking up most of the prevention services that Family Services’ local agencies had been providing.
“We have not received a single phone call or complaint from anyone who had been a client of Family Services,” he said. All of their former clients have been transferred to other local providers of the client’s choosing.
McCaslin noted that the area United Way agencies have agreed to help the ADAMhs Board fund the information and referral service that had been provided locally for many years. While the 2-1-1 number could not be continued, information and referral as well as the crisis hotline can be reached by calling 800-468-4357 (HELP) anytime of the day or night.
The board elected a chairman and vice-chairman for the new fiscal year starting July 1. Dan Koch of Napoleon was elected chairperson and Cindy Rose of Archbold was selected vice-chairman.
McCaslin formally announced his plan to retire at the end of the year. He joined the ADAMhs Board staff as associate director in February 1995 and became the executive director in May 2004. Board member Cindy Rose explained that the personnel committee would meet next month to discuss how to proceed with the process of selecting a new CEO.
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