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Tag Archive | "Network180"

Board approves funding for Mental Health Court 


This morning the Kent County Board of Commissioners accepted a $193,000 grant to institute a Mental Health Court in the County. This specialized court docket was created for certain defendants with mental illness, an approach that substitutes a problem-solving model for traditional criminal court processing. The grant comes after spending the past several months completing a planning study, which was funded by a grant from the State Court Administrative Office (SCAO) in March of 2017. 

Staff from 17th Circuit Court, Circuit Court Judge Joseph Rossi, Network180, the Sheriff’s Office, Prosecutor’s Office, Michigan Department of Corrections and the Public Defender’s Office reviewed the potential of a mental health court for the County and developed the policies, procedures and an implementation strategy. Earlier this month, the SCAO awarded $193,410 for implementation of a mental health court within the County. Grant dollars will be used for program coordination, clinical support, incentives, data entry, program involvement, drug tests and legal defense. 

The goals of the program include a reduction in recidivism for defendants, and a corresponding reduction in jail bed days. When fully operational, the court will have a caseload of 45 clients. It is anticipated that most, if not all, clients in the mental health court will be managed in the community while being engaged in treatment. The Kent County mental health court will focus on serving individuals who have a severe mental illness and are charged with a felony. “Mental health issues are perhaps one of the largest contributing factors to recidivism,” said Judge Rossi. “Merely putting offenders suffering from mental illness in jail will not resolve the problem. Providing much-needed treatment could help people recover and stay out of the justice system, while alleviating the strain on the courts and jails.” 

The State Legislature created the mental health court statute in 2013, enabling trial courts in Michigan to develop and operate mental health courts. The SCAO makes funds available for planning and implementation of mental health courts. “Approximately 10 percent of our jail population is severely mentally ill; that is more than 100 people on any given day,” according to Kent County Undersheriff Michelle LaJoye-Young. “Although in some cases jail will still be necessary, our hopes are that the right treatment at the right time in these cases can allow residents to remain in the community in a safe manner.” 

“Treatment is a much more cost-effective way to deal with mental health issues, and it is also a more holistic course of action,” said Scott Gilman, Executive Director of Network180. “I believe we can positively impact lives through this specialized docket.” The grant runs through September 30, 2018. It is expected that the grant will be renewable. 

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Kent County to pilot mental and physical health treatment integration


Network180, Mercy Health’s Affinia Health Network and Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services have been authorized to implement a pilot program integrating physical health care and behavioral health services in the State Budget signed by Governor Rick Snyder Friday. The pilot in Kent County is specifically designated in Section 298 of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services budget, a fairly rare occurrence in State budgets. The Kent pilot is considered a “public” pilot because mental health funding will continue to flow through the public mental health system. In addition to Kent’s pilot, the budget also calls for up to three additional private health plan pilots in other parts of the State.

This pilot, entitled, “The Kent Total Health Collaborative,” is designed to offer comprehensive and integrated services for all levels of physical health, mental health, substance use disorder, and developmental disability. Budget language provides $3.1 million to support the State’s implementation costs relate to four pilot projects and demonstration models in Michigan. The funds will support an independent project facilitator, evaluation costs, modifications to state contracts, and three additional full-time State employees.

“This is an incredible honor and responsibility. We have the opportunity to implement our integrated care service model that we believe will significantly improve the physical and mental health outcomes for those involved,” said Scott Gilman, Executive Director of Network180. The Kent pilot is based on a risk-bearing provider-led integration model that requires savings to be reinvested into services and supports in the County. What that really means is the mental health and primary care providers work together to address all the social determinants of health.

“For example a patient can have the best hospital and surgeon in the world, but if they happen to have a mental illness and are discharged back to the street, the outcome and recovery from surgery isn’t going to be that great,” said Gilman.

“The partners involved in this pilot understand to have successful health outcomes, behavioral health providers must work together with primary care physicians and health systems,” said Mary Boyd, Executive Vice President of Regional Operations at Mercy Health. “Patients will have access to a full range of mental health and substance abuse treatment and recovery options which will be fully integrated into physical care.”

The Facilitator will report back to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services regarding:

  • Improvement of the coordination between behavioral health and physical health.
  • Improvement of services available to individuals with mental illness, intellectual or developmental disabilities, or substance use disorders.
  • Benefits associated with full access to community-based services and supports.
  • Customer health status.
  • Customer satisfaction.
  • Provider network stability.
  • Treatment and service efficacies before and after the pilot projects and demonstration models.
  • Use of best practices.
  • Financial efficiencies.

“Our goal is to design the system of care around the patient to achieve the best quality of life possible,” said Dr. Mark Eastbrook, CEO of Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services.

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Health Department reminds adults to “Rethink Drinks”

Effort focuses on community awareness


The Kent County Health Department is continuing to work in partnership with Network180 to reduce adult heavy drinking. The partnership is entering its second year of the campaign to inform adults about the harmful effects and risky behaviors associated with excessive alcohol consumption. The campaign is hitting the road… in more ways than one.

Year two of the campaign has included bus boards on The Rapid, billboards, Johnny Ads and drink coasters distributed to bars and restaurants throughout Kent County, advertising at Fifth Third Ballpark, an end-of-season agreement with the West Michigan Whitecaps, and outreach at local schools and colleges.

“Alcohol abuse and heavy drinking can be a problem for all populations in West Michigan, especially this time of year,” says Adam London, Administrative Health Officer for the Kent County Health Department. “There are many short and long-term problems associated with heavy drinking, from risky behaviors to obesity and organ damage. Encouraging healthy behavior in places where alcohol is consumed helps us reach those most at-risk.”

Adult heavy drinking is a major public health concern. According to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) Assessment in 2008, 18 percent of those who were surveyed between the ages of 18-64 admitted to binge drinking in the past month. Binge drinking is higher among men (20.8 percent) and in residents between the ages of 25-34. The assessment also found 22.7 percent of adults in a higher income tax bracket ($75,000/year) admitted to binge drinking in the past 30 days. Many people do not realize the long-term harm they are doing to their bodies when they engage in heavy drinking.

The website www.rethinkdrinks.com includes:

· How to determine if your alcohol consumption is a risk to your health;

· How much alcohol is in a drink;

· How many calories are in a drink;

· Online calculator to assist in determining your blood alcohol content.

This partnership between the Kent County Health Department and Network180 is supported by a grant from the Behavioral Health and Departmental Disabilities Administration/Bureau of Substances Abuse & Addiction Services.

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Ray Winnie
Intandem Credit Union


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