New program will bring more mental healthcare provider to rural Indiana

Posted at 6:48 PM, Jan 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-04 18:48:51-05

INDIANAPOLIS — According to the Health Resources and Services Administration, 42 of Indiana's 48 rural counties have had at least one death attributed to opioids. While seven of these counties had the highest number of opioid-related deaths in the state.

And 46 of Indiana's 48 rural counties don't have enough mental healthcare providers for it's residents.

Due to this, the Indiana State Department of Health is launching a program to help bring healthcare providers — who specialize in mental health — to rural areas of Indiana.

The counties included in the roll out plan for 2019 are: Blackford, Dearborn, Fayette, Franklin, Grant, Henry, Jay, Randolph, Switzerland, Union and Wayne.

The program will provide an incentive for psychiatrists, alcohol and substance use counselors and practitioners to practice in the areas experiencing high numbers of opioid deaths.

“Attacking the drug crisis and helping people achieve recovery is a key pillar of Governor Holcomb’s agenda,” said Jim McClelland, Indiana executive director for Drug Prevention, Treatment and Enforcement.

“This program will help bring more qualified medical professionals to rural Indiana communities and expand access to quality treatment for individuals with substance use disorder.”

The project will also provide grants to providers in mental health and addiction-related disciplines. Secondary grants can be provided to primary care physicians, who also are in short supply.

The plan call for 30 awards for each year of the four-year grant period.

ISDH Chronic Disease Director, Ann Alley, said, “This program will help save lives by increasing access to mental health services and removing barriers to recovery.”

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