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Bringing Critical Health Services Closer to Home

Primary care providers play a critical role in connecting patients to mental health and substance abuse services.

Christin Green is a family medicine doctor at a health center in Maryland. She recalls the difficult and emotional journey of a patient who fought to reach a full week of sobriety after decades of opioid addiction: “His eyes were watering as he was explaining how meaningful it was to him.”  Health centers have and will continue to be on the frontlines of this crisis, serving patients like Dr. Green’s every day.

Primary care providers play a critical role in connecting patients to mental health and substance abuse services. Health centers provided these services to almost 2 million patients last year. And, to continue these services, today, HRSA announced the award of more than $200 million to 1,178 health centers to expand access to mental health services and substance abuse services. These resources will focus on the treatment, prevention, and awareness of opioid abuse. Health centers will use funds to increase personnel, leverage health information technology, and provide training.

We also announced the award recipients for two grants administered by our Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP):

  • The Substance Abuse Treatment Telehealth Network Grant Program will provide $670,000 across three recipients to improve access to health care services, particularly substance abuse treatment, in rural communities using telehealth networks.
  • The Rural Health Opioid Program will provide up to $2,500,000 across 10 recipients to increase access to treatment and recovery services within rural communities.

Research shows that drug overdose deaths are 45% higher in rural areas compared to urban communities.  Rural residents struggling with substance abuse issues, particularly opioid use disorder, often face unique challenges such as isolation and stigma. Both FORHP programs aim to strengthen interventions to overcome these challenges.

Millions of Americans struggle with substance abuse and mental health issues. HRSA’s programs aim to ensure that they can get quality and timely care closer to home. 

To learn more about today’s $200 million funding announcement, visit: https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2017/09/14/hrsa-awards-200-million-to-health-centers-nationwide.html

To learn more about the Health Center Program, visit: http://bphc.hrsa.gov/about

To find a health center in your area, visit: http://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov

To learn more about the FORHP, visit: https://www.hrsa.gov/ruralhealth/

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