Eyerly Ball to expand addiction treatment with $4 million grant


Eyerly Ball Community Mental Health Services received a multi-million dollar federal grant to expand treatment for substance use disorders and increase access to other mental health services.

The Des Moines-based provider has received $4 million over the next four years under the federally certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic program. Under this model, clinics provide a full range of mental health and addictions services and have the ability to care for anyone who walks through the door, regardless of diagnosis or ability to pay.

“The intention is to make access to services much easier,” said Monica Van Horn, director of crisis services at Eyerly Ball.

Eyerly Ball is a community-based mental health care provider affiliated with UnityPoint Health that offers outpatient care, residential treatment, and crisis intervention services. The majority of his patients are on Medicaid or uninsured, Van Horn said.

In 2021, the organization saw around 6,200 patients. So far this year, the total number of patients has reached 5,370.

It has locations in Polk and Story counties, but sees patients from 20 counties in central Iowa. It also offers community crisis stabilization services in 18 counties, according to Van Horn.

What will Eyerly Ball do with this funding?

As a recipient of a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic grant, Eyerly Ball will receive $1 million each year between 2022 and 2026. The provider received the first round of funding on September 30.

This funding will be directed to patients with substance use disorders as well as patients with co-occurring mental health and addiction disorders, Van Horn said. In total, they hope to treat 1,200 of these patients over the next four years.

In the coming months, authorities will roll out a drug treatment program, which uses a combination of counseling with a prescription drug called Suboxone, to treat patients with opioid use disorder. Research has shown that this “whole patient” treatment approach is an effective method for treating opioid use disorder.

Van Horn said they hope to hire two licensed providers and other staff by January 2023. By September 2024, they hope to have a full caseload of 30 patients.

Additionally, Van Horn said the funding will help establish same-day access to their team for patients.

These patients will not have an appointment or receive care until a later date, but Van Horn said it is still important that they start the process when the patient has the motivation to come and ask for help. assistance.

“When someone comes in for services or calls in for services, we want to be able to get them in and do a screening or admission on the same day,” she said. “Early intervention is so important, and with the current wait times for services, we’re seeing this delay in treating people, often resulting in negative outcomes.”

What is a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic?

This is the second time Eyerly Ball has received a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic grant, which is distributed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, or SAMHSA.

They received the first two-year grant, which was $4 million, in May 2020 to establish the organization as a certified community behavioral health clinic. This second round of funding will allow them to further expand their progress in this space, Van Horn said.

When the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics program was established in 2014 and then expanded in 2017, it was one of the nation’s largest investments in behavioral health services. These facilities provide coordinated addiction and mental health treatment, all reimbursed by Medicaid, to patients of all ages.

By offering integrated services within one organization, the goal is to help patients better navigate the often complicated mental health system.

To date, there are more than 450 certified community behavioral health clinics nationwide, according to SAMHSA.

When Eyerly Ball received the 2020 grant to become a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic, officials felt earning that designation was “the next logical step for us,” Van Horn said. The organization was already serving as a community mental health provider for the most needy residents, and officials wanted to expand services and reach more clients.

“We’re excited to get started,” Van Horn said. “We feel very fortunate to have received this funding.”

The move comes as many Iowans struggle to quickly access treatment for mental health and substance abuse disorders, a nationally felt problem that is in part due to a shortage of licensed providers.

A study by the federal health and human services agency estimated that the country would see an increase in demand for behavioral healthcare providers over the next decade. However, by 2023, the United States is expected to face a 20% decrease in the supply of adult psychiatrists.

Additionally, the agency expects only a 3% increase in the number of addiction counselors to meet the 15% increase in demand for their services.

Michaela Ramm covers health care for the Des Moines Register. She can be reached at [email protected], (319) 339-7354 or on Twitter at @Michaela_Ramm.


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