From the Perspectives Newsletter: Federal Grant Boosts Integrated Care at PfP

$1.56 million grant allows Places for People to expand, enhance primary care options

From the Fall/Winter 2015 Perspectives Newsletter

Primary care medical services are taking another huge leap forward at Places for People thanks to a federal grant.

Places for People received a grant from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) as part of the Primary and Behavioral Health Care Integration program (PBHCI). The grant will provide Places for People with $390,000 a year for the next four years, totaling $1.56 million.

Places for People is one of only five agencies in SAMHSA’s Region VII, which includes Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska, to receive this grant.

Full-project implementation is expected by February 2016.

It is Places for People’s goal to engage and enroll 400 individuals into the project over four years.

“This project will really help us to move forward in our vision of being a premier provider of holistic, integrated physical and behavioral health care for those with the greatest challenges,” said Places for People Executive Director Joe Yancey. “This project will allow us to make a real difference in the overall health of those we serve, which we see as a necessary service component to a life beyond and in spite of mental illness and associated chronic illnesses.”

This funding will allow Places for People to address the total health care needs of people living with severe mental illness, and enhance the experience of care, helping the people we serve to live healthier, longer lives. This project will also increase efficiency and reduce the overall cost of health care.

“It’s all very exciting,” said Barbara Zawier, Places for People Co-Clinical Director in charge of special projects, explaining that the grant allows Places for People to expand and enhance its primary care infrastructure.

People living with severe mental illness die 25 years earlier than the average American. Often, people with severe mental illness experience elevated rates of hypertension, diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease.

This grant will allow Places for People to expand nursing hours for treatment teams, hire two new Licensed Practical Nurses to provide direct health
interventions, a peer wellness coach and a fitness/nutrition specialist to provide individual and group counseling.

In addition to providing more staff, the funding will allow Places for People to enhance coordination of care by sharing more electronic data and information directly with three partner agencies in the community – Family Care Health Centers, Affinia Health Services and the
Washington University Infectious Disease Clinic.

By improving the way records are shared between Places for People and these providers, Zawier said “We can create a more holistic, improved clinical response to clients’ health concerns.”