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Centerstone Receives Grant to Launch New Integrated Care Program

Centerstone was awarded a $3 million, five-year grant via the State of Illinois and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to promote and develop integrated primary and behavioral health services in Madison County in Illinois.

Centerstone is one of three organizations selected by the state to collaborate on the SAMHSA “Promoting Integration of Primary Behavioral Health Care (PIPBHC)” grant.

Centerstone will use the funds to implement a project expanding fully integrated, co-located collaboration in clinical practice between primary and behavioral healthcare to support improvement of integrated care models and delivery of integrated care.

“The project’s focus population experiences co-occurring physical health conditions and chronic diseases – it includes adults with a mental illness, including those with co-occurring substance use disorders, as well as children and adolescents who have serious emotional disturbances in Madison County,” said Janette Heath, LCPC, Centerstone’s Director of Clinical Excellence. “Integrated care services will be offered at the Centerstone facility in Alton, including the evidence-based screening/assessment, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of behavioral health and co-occurring physical health conditions and chronic diseases according to a shared, individualized care plan, as well as outreach, engagement and retention strategies appropriate for the diverse population.”

The focus population of the integrated primary and behavioral health services will be the Madison County area.

The project also hopes to impact the disparities that exist among the targeted population around access to services and health outcomes. “Health disparities exist among those we serve which can lead to limited access to primary care, high levels of poverty, increased mental health issues, and poor physical health outcomes. Couple those barriers with the stigma faced by many with mental illness and substance use disorders, and the barriers become even more significant,” said Heath. “Centerstone’s integrated care program will reduce disparities in service access/use and outcomes by providing integration and collaboration in clinical practices between primary and behavioral health care to produce positive whole health outcomes among the focus population.”

Some of the improvements include: scheduling appointments back-to-back to reduce travel to multiple facilities, linking individuals to support services such as childcare and employment services, outreach and training efforts to increase the number of community stakeholders, and increasing awareness of the need to integrate primary and behavioral health care.

Partners include Southern Illinois Healthcare Foundation, area primary care providers, community-based organizations, and social support agencies in the area.

“Increasing awareness will help reduce stigma around mental illness, seriously emotionally disturbed and substance use treatment,” Heath said. “The provision of tailored care, integrating primary and behavioral health services, will close the communication gap between providers and improve participant retention and outcomes.”

“Centerstone is very passionate about integrated behavioral and physical health care,” said John Markley, CEO of Centerstone. “Adults with serious mental illness on average die years sooner than the rest of the population.  By coordinating both primary and behavioral health care, we hope to improve the quality of care and life outcomes for those we serve.”

In any given year, in the United States, one in five adults, which is about 44 million people, experience mental illness and one in 25 adults or 9.8 million people experience a serious mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

“Adults with mental illness experience higher rates of health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease, and infectious disease,” Markley said. “Morbidity and mortality rates are worse among adults with serious mental illness, who die on average 15-25 years earlier than the general population.”

For children, an estimated 13-20% of children in the United States have a mental disorder or illness, with estimates for serious emotional disturbance ranging from 6.8-11.5%, according to SAMHSA.

“Serious emotional disturbances impair development and limit functioning in many aspects of a child’s daily activities, including social interactions, family functioning, and school performance,” said Heath. “When mental illness goes untreated in children, they are more likely to experience negative outcomes such as not graduating from high school, unemployment, and involvement with the justice system.  This pattern often continues into adulthood with these individuals using more health care and social services and accruing higher health care costs than the general population.”