Nearly $4 million in federal funds has been earmarked for Rutland County Mental Health Services.
Rutland’s Mental Health Service, part of the Community Care Network, began the process to become a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic with a four-year, $3.9 million grant.
Community Care Network CEO Dick Courcelle compared the structure to the federally licensed health center system of community health centers in the Rutland area, saying it would open up new funding mechanisms that would help them do facing the shortage of mental health care in the region.
“This is a transformational program for this agency,” he said.
The four-year grant is intended to support recovery from mental illness and/or substance abuse disorders, regardless of the patient’s ability to pay.
Program organizations provide crisis services, treatment planning, screening, assessment, diagnosis, risk assessment, outpatient mental health and addictions services, targeted case management, screening and outpatient primary care monitoring, community mental health care for veterans, peer and family support, psychiatric rehabilitation services and services.
All of this, Courcelle said, takes place in the context of working closely with other care organizations and having systems in communication with each other to reduce gaps in care – a “whole person approach”. “.
Laura Kass, director of services, said this will be the first time Rutland Mental Health has offered drug treatment for addiction.
“It will work very well with the addiction services we provide,” she said. “It will be a good addition.”
Another new area for the organization will be veteran peer services.
“We really don’t do anything with veterans,” she said. “We want to be able to help collaborate with them as needed, if necessary.”
The addition of a part-time nurse practitioner will allow Rutland Mental Health to provide limited primary care services.
“People with severe and persistent mental illness who have difficulty getting to primary care offices are being let down for no-shows,” she said. “They miss screenings. … Some of these people haven’t been to the doctor (office) in years.
Courcelle said patients spend months on waiting lists for mental health services and the grant will allow them to add staff.
“We will build intermediary services,” he said. “Psychiatry is even more problematic because there is a national shortage of psychiatrists.”
In an unrelated development, the organization is also set to take over the Courcelle Brothers building on the North Street Extension, which has lain largely unused since the Rutland Parks and Recreation Department moved its office. at the Rutland Community Recreation Center.
When the federal government decommissioned the former reserve center, it was offered to the city on the condition that it be used for recreational purposes.
The Board of Aldermen voted unanimously on Monday to lease the building to Community Care Network pending National Park Service approval. City officials said they received indications that the approval is likely to happen because CCN will use the building for services for seniors in partnership with the recreation department.
“Nothing is easy with the federal government, but it paved the way for us,” Courcelle said.