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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Clark Community Center adds program to services

Thursday, September 6, 2012

"Outstanding in their field" is the Clark Community Mental Health Center staff pictured above. The field is across from the Monett facility and is owned by the center for future expansion. The staff includes: Suzette Huntress, Frank Compton, Andrea Ehrhardt, Debbie Schoon, Linda Lynch, Rebekah Johnson, Kim Deems, Peggy Bryan, David Whitmire, Gregg Mercer, Jayne Helmkamp, Gary June, Melissa Tabor, Angela Roderick, Brandi Ferrand, Susan Hoftiezer, Rebecca Macy, Debra Boyer, Danissa Holt, Anita Anderson, Sharon Woodruff, Christi Myers, Donna Foster, Laura Beatie, Sam Helmkamp, Brandy Tarkington, Robin Bartlett, Michelle Waltrip, Wes Starlin, David Forgy, Jamie Welters, Deeanna Hawkins, Amber West, Christy Henley, Tricia Wodlinger-Pierce, Sherry Bollinger, Shelly Cox, Kristina Reich, Tony Keller, Riley Kittrell, Jessica Jones, Shannon Doyle, Sherry Dudick, Eugene Wunder, Melissa Moore, Stephanie LeMasters, Michelle Adams, Gwen Carnahan, Savannah Charleston, Lorna Doss, Kristen Thompson, Donna Thomas, Michelle Whitmire, Brenda Bartkoski, Jennifer Humphrey, Joi Bass, Cecilia Hilburn, Elizabeth Daniels and Matt Houck.[Times Photo by Lisa Craft]
The Clark Community Mental Health Center has added a new healthcare program that serves area individuals in the area who have a mental health diagnosis combined with physical health concerns.

The program began in January focused on whole healthcare and cost savings.

"Our goal is to redirect consumers from the emergency room on non-emergency room issues toward contacting a nurse care manager and addressing their needs," said Suzette Huntress, vice president of operations at Clark Community Center.

If a consumer has been diagnosed with a mental condition and/or a substance abuse condition as well as diabetes, COPD or cardiovascular disease, then the consumer can qualify for the healthcare home program.

"This is a Medicaid program," said Huntress. "We are trying to reduce the cost to Medicaid by providing a nurse that will help the consumer understand their physical and mental health needs. We are bringing it all into one program."

The Monett facility is comprised of outpatient and healthcare home programs, including psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, nurses, psychologists and licensed therapists for mental health substance abuse treatment.

The Clark Center has moved to an open access model for services. This enables clinical staff at the outpatient Monett location to see anyone for an initial evaluation without an appointment. Individuals do need to bring their insurance information and a photo identification. The goal is to address the immediate needs of people seeking help. The intake specialist is a licensed clinician who will meet with individuals to help assess needs and refer individuals to appropriate services, whether they are within the Clark Center's menu of services or with one of its community partners.

"It makes sense that we address physical health concerns and mental health concerns with the same intensity, our head is attached to our body," said Huntress.

The nurses help by open communication with primary care physicians and working on combining the physical and the mental health side with consumers and their care managers. They will promote wellness by teaching consumers to become more health literate and help consumers manage the different prescriptions that a patient is taking so medications don't interact in a negative manner.

Clark Community Center covers Barry, Lawrence and Dade counties. There are two nurses for the healthcare home program, and the center has hired a third nurse to help psychiatrists on a daily basis for the inside clinic at the center. There is also a case manager for the Health Care Home program who's main function is to collect and enter data so staff can address disparities in outcomes and celebrate successes. The Center will be training care coordinators, who work in collaboration with the health care home nurses, on Wellness Coaching and becomeing Wellness Coaches.

"With the healthcare home program, we want to be able to show that the services our consumers need show outcomes," said Huntress. "So, it is all consumer centered and outcome driven."

The center currently has 291 consumers enrolled in the healthcare home program. The ratio is one nurse care manager to 250 consumers, but since there is a director of nursing and a nurse care manager, the consumers are split between them.

According to Huntress, eventually the consumer will not need the services if the program works effectively. The goal is to make consumers aware of their overall health concerns and how to effectively access services when they need them.

Clark Community Mental Health Center, Inc. is a private, not for profit corporation, organized for the purpose of providing mental health and substance abuse services to adults, families, children and youth.

The mission of the center is to be a crisis assessment and information resource for Barry, Dade and Lawrence county residents needing assistance with mental illness, substance abuse, mental retardation and developmental disabilities by providing a comprehensive array of programs and services.

Statistically, people with mental illness die 25 years sooner than those who do not have a mental illness. More people suffering from mental illness smoke, have untreated physical health issues like metabolic syndrome, COPD and diabetes.

"We are hoping to reduce that number significantly. Our head is part of our body," said Huntress. "Mental health has been separated from physical health for too long, and mental health has been dealt with under the table, secretly. It doesn't need to be separate. They go together and that is what we are trying to accomplish."

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