Sun Life Health is pleased to announce that we have received an AIMS (Access Increases in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services) Project Grant from the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA).
HRSA provides supplemental funding in AIMS to support the expansion of access to mental health services and substance abuse services focusing on the treatment, prevention, and awareness of opioid abuse. Sun Life Health currently provides SBIRT (Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment) services as part of the integrated behavioral health program available to patients at all of our offices throughout Pinal County. As a result of these screening activities, clinical staff identify an estimated 50 patients per month experiencing mental health or substance abuse issues.
Davis Plunkett, Manager of Integrated Behavioral Health, states, “This grant has allowed us to reach more patients who are struggling with opioid addiction while providing education and treatment through the MAPP program (Mindful Alternative Pain Program- established in December 2017).” Over 3,000 Sun Life Health patients received services through Sun Life Health’s integrated behavioral health program in the past year.
Sun Life Health intends to use the FY 2018 Expanding Access to Quality Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health Services funding to hire a full time Clinical Pharmacist. This new position will enable the Organization to expand pain management services in partnership with primary care providers. The new Clinical Pharmacist position will work with primary care providers to taper patients off pain medications and ensure patients receive the proper doses of medications.
Mr. Plunkett also mentioned, “Sun Life Health, with assistance from this grant, has developed a robust case management team which helps to track patients of Sun Life Health who are currently receiving substance abuse and mental health treatment. Through their assistance, we can more efficiently assist these patient with their needs, refer out for treatment if necessary while reassuring that they are not falling through the cracks of the behavioral health system.” Sun Life Health will use the following strategies to increase access to mental health and substance abuse services focusing on treatment, prevention, and awareness of opioid abuse: Individual/Group Counseling (Substance Abuse Treatment), Case Management Services, and a Multidisciplinary approach to pain management services. “Multidisciplinary support for all of our patients is the best way to approach healthcare. Healthcare is so much more than just the “Doctor/Patient” interaction. To have continued, ongoing success, using a team-based approach yields the best outcomes for our patients”, was echoed by Matthew Bertsch, PharmD and Director of Pharmacy.
Sun Life Health will use one time funding to support the costs of sending behavioral health and clinical pharmacy staff to trainings related to treatment of addiction and pain management. Additionally, Sun Life Health will use one time funding to cover the costs of patient registration kiosks and the annual subscription fee to participate as part of the AZARA DRVS (a centralized Data Reporting and Visualization System.