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CHCSI breaks ground on Access Center

Community Health Centers of Southern Iowa broke ground on the soon-to-be Access Center located at 219 W. Washington St. Friday morning. Rep. Joel Fry spoke at the ground breaking ceremony showing his support for CHCSI and their work to support individuals with mental illness.

The current office location in Osceola is at 131 W. Washington St. where behavioral services are available. At the Access Center there will be access to medical health professionals, behavioral health professionals, dental and vision health professionals and pharmacists. Teletherapy with a psychiatrist will be available as well.

The building is scheduled to be completed and ready to open November 1, 2019.

CHCSI entered the Osceola community in 2018 with the behavioral health site. The new Access Center is to provide cost-effective, local support to assess and stabilize individuals in crisis. The center is to provide a spectrum of care that is new to Iowa, including court evaluations, observation, stabilization, subacute, mobile crisis and peer support.

The staff at CHCSI has grown 50.6 percent since 2016 as their levels of care and number of facilities have increased. In 2018 CHCSI served 10,094 patients in 11 locations, providing primary care, behavioral health, and oral health visits.

Historically in Iowa, especially in crisis, access to treatment has been initiated with a trip to the local hospital ER. Emergency departments were never designed to treat mental illness and a lack of suitable alternatives had led to “boarding” mental health patients in the ER. This takes space from those who visit the ER for medical/physical injuries or emergencies.

HF 2456 passed unanimously through the legislature and was signed March 29, 2018, calling for six Access Centers throughout Iowa to assess and treat individuals in mental health crisis. Access Centers reduce the strain on the system by diverting from inpatient care when appropriate. They can facilitate a more uniform committal process while getting someone the right level of care more quickly and cost effectively, saving counties thousands of dollars a year. These centers are also able to assess and stabilize individuals in crisis, without having to leave the area, and connect or re-connect to existing services within the home community.

Individuals with a mental health illness are more likely than those without to be arrested, homeless, or out of work, but the likelihood decreases if they are involved in treatment.

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