Health Centers Receive Millions To Combat Opioid Epidemic

Sep 18, 2017

Indiana will receive more than $3.5 million in federal funds to tackle the opioid epidemic. The money going to 21 health centers, will primarily be used to increase behavioral health services.

The Health Resources and Services Administration, or HRSA, will disperse more than $200 million in grants to qualifying health centers around the country that serve patients regardless of ability to pay.

Indianapolis’s Raphel Health Center CEO Dee Roudebush says the funding comes just in time.

“All of health centers are trying to treat these problem and it’s taking all our resources to do it,” says Roudebush.

She says her center will use the money, more than $175,000, to train all staff on substance abuse disorders, increase counseling and hire psychiatrists.

“Probably one in five patients we see has some sort of issue with this. It’s affecting their health, their jobs, their daily lives,” says Roudebush.

HRSA spokesperson Martin Kramer says health centers will have some flexibility.

“We want to make sure that these health centers are able to tailor these services to the communities they’re serving,” says Kramer.

Another $3 million will go to rural health providers in eight states, including Indiana.  He says those areas typically have limited access to care.

“Hopefully help these rural communities increase their tele-health ability to provide substance abuse services and mental health services,” says Kramer.

More than 1,200 people in Indiana died from a drug overdose in 2015.