When it comes to mental and behavioral health services in Oregon, mental health and chemical dependency agencies are operating at full capacity. Many individuals must endure long waits for access to services, and some are turned away due to a lack of resources. A recent assessment of both mental health and alcohol and drug (A&D) service capacity revealed that approximately 12,500 persons are turned away each year for A&D treatment, while 6,500 are turned away from integrated primary behavioral health care due to a lack of capacity.
Here is an example of the work Providence is doing around mental and behavioral health:
Increasing access to behavioral health services
There is significant need on the North Coast for a safe, therapeutic place for individuals struggling with mental health and substance abuse disorders to stabilize and begin long-term treatment. Providence is collaborating with key community stakeholders to establish and fund a new Behavioral Health Crisis and Respite Center in 2015.
In Oregon, the reality is that many Oregonians do not have dental insurance or the financial means to address their dental health needs. For low-income individuals who qualify for Oregon Health Plan (OHP) dental benefits, many do not know which benefits are included, how to access them and/or where to seek services. When individuals reach out to get services, they may encounter difficulties in finding providers who will see them. Timeliness of access to appointments for immediate care is also a barrier for many. These recurring issues often result in delayed and unattained care, which in turn translates into an acute dental episode of pain that disrupts a person’s ability to manage his life, go to work, eat, etc.
Here is an example of the work Providence is doing around oral health:
Increased access to oral health services
Providence is investing in the dental van program, managed by The Canby Center and Medical Teams International. The vans currently serve our communities in Canby and Molalla as well as many other Oregon communities. Additional investment will allow the program to reach more individuals across Clackamas County. The center’s Backpack Buddies program, providing nutritious snacks and meals for children over the weekends, also received funding.
Social determinants of health and basic needs
Every day Providence facilities and staff touch the lives of hundreds of low-income children and adults who face barriers related to their health that medical care and treatment alone cannot change. Many people leave our clinics, emergency departments and hospitals overwhelmed by the stress of living day to day without enough income to meet their basic needs. They always leave us with a “plan” in hand, such as a prescription, nutrition information or instructions on how to monitor their blood sugar. However, if they return home to a kitchen that contains enough food to last only a couple of days or cannot make their rent, feeding their children and surviving will come first. Our “plan” will come a distant second, third or fourth.
Here is an example of what Providence is doing around social determinants of health and basic needs:
Holistic approach to discharge
Providence has partnered with Project Access NOW to redesign our patient assistance fund, which provides services to patients at discharge, including temporary housing, transportation, food vouchers, medication assistance and diabetic supplies. All eight Providence hospitals are currently participating. It is our hope that this program will expand and ultimately serve patients from hospitals statewide.