Center certified for mental care

Mid-Columbia Center for Living, the community mental health and developmental disabilities programs for Hood River, Wasco and Sherman Counties, has begun practicing as a Certified Community Mental Health Center at their locations in Hood River and The Dalles.

MCCFL was selected by the Oregon Health Authority as one of 13 behavioral health agencies in the state, and Oregon was chosen as one of only states states nationally to participate in the pilot project that is based on the federal “Excellence in Mental Health Act.”

“The CCMHC opportunity is aligned with Oregon’s health care transformation and the drive to integrate care systems to better serve community members; it’s an exciting advancement for our region,” said Karen Joplin, Hood River County Commissioner and board chair of MCCFL.

The goals of the pilot project are to expand access to mental health and substance use services in community-based settings, including in rural areas, with a particular focus on veterans, services to Native American tribes and other underserved populations, including Hispanic/Latino and Samoan people in bothcounties.

CCMHC’s require the integration of physical health assessment and care into the behavioral health setting. MCCFL will receive an enhanced Medicaid prospective payment rate based on projected costs of the program.

Barb Seatter, executive director of MCCFLm states: “Given the uncertainty of other funding for mental health and substance abuse, the enhanced payment rate will allow MCCFL to continue to design programs that integrate physical health with mental health and substance abuse, improve timely access to care, care coordination and crisis interventions, and work to better serve culturally specific populations.”

MCCFL currently provides physical health screenings by the nursing department, which then coordinates care with the clients’ primary care doctor.

By April of 2018, MCCFL plans to provide 20 hours of primary care services at both CCBHC clinics. MCCFL has been operating a same day intake or “open access” system for the past year where no appointment is necessary for an intake for mental health or substance use assessments for adults.

Children and youth assessments can be conducted in the community at schools and other locations, but do require scheduling.

Seatter said, “People living with persistent mental health and substance abuse issues die anywhere from 25-35 years earlier than the general population. Many of the clients we serve also struggle with chronic health conditions and have difficulty getting to regular physical health appointments. Providing wraparound mental health and primary care will enable us to treat “the whole” person and ultimately help to extend peoples’ lives.”

For more information on the center, call 541-386-2620 in Hood River, 541-296-5452 in The Dalles, 541-565-3149 in Sherman County.

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