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Grant Funding Allows GCBHS to Expand Services to Those Struggling with Substance Use

Greater Cincinnati Behavioral Health Services (GCBHS) was recently awarded a two-year $160,000 grant from the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation, to expand substance use disorder (SUD) treatment through our GCB Connects program at our Madison Road location. Defined as a mental disorder, SUD affects a person’s brain and behavior, leading to the inability to control the use of substances such as legal or illegal drugs, alcohol, and medications.

Pictured from left to right are: Jeff O'Neil, GCBHS President and CEO; SUD Clinical Supervisor Matt Mueller, VP of Hamilton County Behavioral Health NikKi Bisig; Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tracey Skale, and Dr. Benjamin Boche from Anthem.

GCBHS has been offering SUD services to clients in Hamilton County for over nine years. Recently, we began integrating Open Access (OA) strategies into our GCB Connects SUD programming. OA is an innovative, trauma-informed intake method that reduces delays in treatment and provides immediate resources to clients or potential clients with the goal of reducing negative health outcomes.

Substance use disorder is a key area of focus for the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation, which is investing $30M across the country over the next three years to address the problem. “Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation continues to work with our local community partners across Ohio, including Greater Cincinnati Behavioral Health Services (GCBHS), to provide meaningful solutions to

achieve better health for all individuals,” said Dr. Benjamin Boche, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Ohio’s, Behavioral Health Medicaid Medical Director. “This grant will allow us to make significant progress in addressing mental health and well-being in communities across the state with an emphasis on substance use disorders. Through an innovative, trauma-informed intake method, our collaboration with GCBHS will reduce delays in treatment services and supports while providing immediate resources to patients creating a successful pathway to positive health outcomes. We must treat mental health as a driver of whole health, reduce stigma, and advance health equity. Through this wrap-around services approach, impacted individuals will receive solutions that remove barriers to the care and support they need to enhance their lives and improve their chances of recovery.”

The funding will be used to expand access to treatment and services for those experiencing substance use disorder. The goal is to expand the number of those being served by using a model that expedites the initial assessment process for rapid linkage to counseling and recovery support services.

Open Access is a unique way to engage a potential SUD client because of its immediacy. Many times, if someone is seeking help, they must wait a week or more to be seen by a clinician. Then the moment of “seeking assistance” passes and they do not follow through with seeking treatment. GCBHS has established built-in wrap-around supports including peer recovery staff who can identify with the struggles of individuals experiencing a substance use disorder, as well as assist them in accessing basic needs (housing, food), behavioral health and medical services.

When asked how the grant will impact our organization and the people we serve, GCBHS Director of Addiction Services, Julie Kubin said, “The grant will ensure that immediate diagnostic and recovery support services are in place for individuals who walk through our doors seeking help. Having the ability for individuals to access both mental health and SUD services from the beginning greatly increases their chances of addressing their behavioral health needs in a more comprehensive, seamless, and swift manner.”

You can read the entire GCBHS 2023 Summer Newsletter HERE.

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