Pilot Program Changes the Way Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol Services are Delivered

The numbers are in. A pilot program focusing on those with severe mental health and substance abuse issues is now helping close to 800 people in the region get access to the services they need.

BIGLER – Knowing the consequences of severe, untreated mental health issues and substance abuse issues can be devastating to individuals, families and communities, the nation is taking a new approach to treatment.

Those most in need of services can receive them through Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs), a pilot program designed to help those who need multiple services.

The impact of the program, which officially kicked off last year, is now beginning to be examined and the benefits are exceeding expectations.

Pennsylvania, one of eight states offering the CCBHC pilot program, chose to have seven locations in the state provide this service.

Two Cen-Clear locations were among the seven chosen by Pennsylvania to be CCBHC providers. Cen-Clear offers the CCBHC program in Punxsutawney, Jefferson County, and Clearfield, Clearfield County.

Since the implementation of the program Cen-Clear has served over 700 clients, 588 through the Clearfield office and 160 through the Punxsutawney office.

“CCBHC promotes person-centered recovery and allows for the consumer to be the driver of their own recovery by empowering them to make decisions in their treatment,” Drug and Alcohol Clinical Supervisor Jacob Ross said.

The Concept Behind CCBHCs

The CCBHCs take a big-picture approach to mental health and drug and alcohol treatment. Instead of just focusing on each little piece, the clinics focus on the entire picture, including mental health, drug and alcohol issues, physical health and access to community services.

These clinics require therapists, physicians and partnering agencies to work together. These partners are known as Designated Collaborating Organizations (DCOs).

The providers can work together to create a plan together that provides the optimum services for the client.

“The CCBHC approach truly takes the stance that care coordination and collaboration are essential for successful treatment,” CCBHC Coordinator Cortnee L. Shuey said.

The impact

The benefits to consumers from the CCBHC continue to grow.  Some of the results have been:

  • A decrease in the amount of time clients must wait for services
  • An increase in successful discharges
  • The creation of new programs to service consumers, such as Medication Assisted Treatment and Family Support Services
  • A decrease in the amount of times a person has to tell their traumatic story to providers
  • An increase in the ability to connect the person immediately to the appropriate level of care
  • Increased assessments to assist in recovery
  • An Increase in the relationship between community resource providers, health care providers and law enforcement

Improving care and access to services for those with severe mental health and drug and alcohol issues is the goal of this program.

As drug use in Pennsylvania continues to grow, it is even more essential to have programs like the CCBHC that leads to new treatment options for opioid addiction.

CCBHCs recognize that each individual’s need is different and can’t be met with a “cookie-cutter” approach. When providers work together programs can be developed that specifically target an individual’s need to work toward a positive outcome.

Cen-Clear History

Cen-Clear was established in 1980 to provide Head Start services in Centre and Clearfield counties and has worked closely with local school districts and communities ever since to ensure that preschool is available to as many children as possible.

Cen-Clear realized all the issues children faced in pre-school couldn’t be resolved in a classroom setting. At the time, there were limited options for young children in need of mental health services so Cen-Clear began offering mental health services to all ages.

Mental health issues sometimes lead to drug and alcohol issues so it began offering these services as well. Today, Cen-Clear offers mental health services to children, adolescents and adults in 12 counties and drug and alcohol services in four counties. Cen-Clear’s administrative office is located in Bigler, Clearfield County.

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