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Affiliated Service Providers of Indiana Selected for National Effort to Expand Mental Health Services for Veterans

Organization chosen by the Department of Veterans Affairs to lead pilot projects in Bedford, Columbus and Kokomo

Bloomington, Ind. – Affiliated Service Providers of Indiana (ASPIN) has been selected by the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to participate in a new national effort dedicated to expanding the mental healthcare services available to veterans, service members and their families. The organization, which is comprised of community-based behavioral healthcare providers from across Indiana, will lead pilot projects in Bedford, Columbus and Kokomo aimed at helping veterans more quickly access mental health services.

“ASPIN and our partners are honored to be part of this important national initiative,” said Bob Strange, project director at ASPIN. “ASPIN has been working for several months to help more veterans and their families access mental health services. We are very pleased to be able to work with the federal government to expand our outreach and assist the men and women who serve our nation get the services and support they need.”

These pilot projects stem from an Executive Order issued August 31, 2012, in which President Barack Obama directed the VA, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Defense work together to find ways to collaborate with community-based providers to assist veterans with easier access to behavioral health services. The VA has established 24 pilot projects with community-based mental health and substance abuse providers across nine states including Georgia, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Alaska, South Dakota, Nebraska, Indiana and Iowa.

Pilot projects vary from state to state and include provisions for inpatient, residential and outpatient mental health and substance abuse services as well as tele-mental health, staff sharing and space utilization arrangements to allow VA providers to provide services directly in communities that are distant from a VA facility.

Pilot project sites were chosen based upon community provider capacity and wait times, community treatment methodologies available, veteran acceptance of external care, location of care with respect to the Veteran population and mental health needs in specific areas. ASPIN was selected for this initiative because of the tele-behavioral health services it has already established in Indiana.

“The ASPIN partners were, in many ways, ahead of their time, in seeking innovative ways to reach and engage veterans and their families,” said Robb Backmeyer, chief operating officer of Centerstone, a member of ASPIN. “As part of these national pilots, our ability to find and serve more service members in need will be enhanced, and we will be able to share information and best practices with other providers about how we can improve our ability to serve veterans. Centerstone is delighted to be a part of ASPIN and this important initiative.”

Affiliated Service Providers of Indiana’s Indiana Veterans Behavioral Health Network (IVBHN) includes Bowen Center, Centerstone of Indiana, Community Howard Regional Health, Four County Counseling Center, Hamilton Center, Inc., Wabash Valley Alliance, and Roudebush VA Medical Center.