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Osteopathic Heritage Foundation Nelsonville - 317 Board Partnership Update


The Athens Hocking Vinton Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board (317 Board) is part of Ohio’s county and regional network of agencies responsible for planning, developing, funding and evaluating a community-based system of care for individuals in need of behavioral health and substance use disorder services. With primary funding from the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and local tax levies, the 317 Board currently contracts with thirteen local service providers, offering comprehensive behavioral health and substance use disorder treatment and recovery services throughout Athens, Hocking and Vinton counties. 

Foundation Support

Since 2012, the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation of Nelsonville (the Foundation) has collaborated with the 317 Board to support innovative and effective strategies designed to improve the health and quality of life for vulnerable individuals and their families negatively affected by behavioral health and substance use disorders.  To date, through a multi-year, 1:1 funding match, the partnership has allocated $1.8 million to programs and services in Athens, Hocking and Vinton counties. 

The initial investment of funds through the partnership was directed to projects focused on the integration of behavioral health and primary care for individuals with behavioral health and substance use disorders.  Many successes were realized by the funded projects, including the formation of new partnerships among primary care and behavioral health providers in southeastern Ohio, with behavioral health consultants embedded within six primary care sites.  In addition, funded projects resulted in increased screening and treatment of over 3,000 individuals with behavioral health needs in primary care settings, 80% of whom had never previously received behavioral health services.  The projects also improved chronic disease management for individuals diagnosed with hypertension, diabetes, asthma and/or obesity, along with behavioral health conditions.

According to Earl Cecil, Executive Director of the 317 Board, “The placement of behavioral health clinicians in primary care offices led to people, who would not have received behavioral health services otherwise, receiving these services in an environment where they are comfortable and in coordination with their primary care physician.  This will have a very positive, long-term impact.”  See the Health Integration in Southeastern Ohio Year 3 Report to learn more about this initiative. 

Building on these successes, and informed by a planning session with community providers and stakeholders, the funding partnership expanded focus in 2017, responding to the continued unmet needs of individuals with serious and persistent mental illness and communities impacted by the opiate epidemic.  As part of this effort, the funding partners prioritized one-time investments for projects reflective of one or more of the following outcomes: increased number of individuals receiving services; enhanced quality of care whereby clients achieve increased benefits in functioning, well-being and/or level of independence; improved service coordination; increased process efficiencies; additional resources leveraged; and reduced costs.  Funding awards included support for recovery housing, advanced training in evidence-based treatment models, facility upgrades and transportation for participants of peer support and aging programs.

The Foundation also partnered with the 317 Board to provide capital funding for a new center serving patients discharged from Appalachian Behavioral Healthcare, southeastern Ohio’s state psychiatric hospital.  The Adam-Amanda Rehabilitation Center offers patients a safe and supportive residential after-care program to continue treatment and stabilize before reentering their home community.  The Center, operated by Hopewell Health Centers, is the result of a collaboration among National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Ohio, NAMI Athens, the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and the 317 Board.  Named after two young individuals who committed suicide only days after being released from inpatient psychiatric facilities, the Adam-Amanda Center is filling a much needed gap in behavioral health services.

“The Appalachian Behavioral Healthcare readmission rate is approximately 45% on a quarterly basis and nationally, the suicide rates for adults with mental health disorders within the first ninety days after discharge is over fourteen times the average rate of suicide in the United States.  The Adam-Amanda Center step-down facility will save lives by stabilizing patients and preparing their families before reentry into the community,” explained Cecil.

Of the partnership, Susan Beaudry, Vice President of the Osteopathic Heritage Foundations, said, “The Foundations continue to seek innovative approaches to supporting behavioral health services and addressing the opiate crisis.  Partnering with the 317 Board is a key strategy in understanding the local strengths and needs within the communities we serve in southeastern Ohio.”

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