In September 2017, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) awarded over $200 million in Access Increases in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (AIMS) funding to 1,178 health centers nationwide. AIMS supplemental funding supports the expansion of access to mental health services, and substance abuse services focusing on the treatment, prevention, and awareness of opioid abuse. Health centers will enhance these services by increasing personnel. They will also leverage health information technology (IT) and provide training to support the expansion of mental health services, and substance abuse services focusing on the treatment, prevention, and awareness of opioid abuse, and their integration into primary care.
“Nationally, about half of all care for common mental health conditions happens in the primary care settings,” said HRSA Administrator George Sigounas, MS, Ph.D. “In health centers, where people are often most comfortable, staff with varied expertise have a unique opportunity to provide mental health and substance abuse services to patients who wouldn’t otherwise seek or have access to treatment.”
Rural states are more likely to have higher rates of overdose death, particularly from prescription opioid overdose. To address their unique needs, 496 of the health centers that receive AIMS awards are located in rural communities.
Fordland Clinic was awarded AIMS funding. This funding will be used to increase our clinical social worker’s days each week from one to three at the Fordland Clinic and to add an additional day per month at Tri-Lakes Community Health Center. Funding will also be used for a case manager to provide coordination of services at both sites. Also included in the grant is one-time funding to improve IT and to provide training that will vastly improve the delivery system of care to patients.