Public Health Receives Federal Grant
Source: Public Health Department
The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department (SBCPHD) received a $167,000 grant award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to expand access to integrated behavioral health services. The SBCPHD serves nearly 26,000 unique patients annually; 93% are below 200% of the Federal Poverty Line and 23% are uninsured. Nearly 14% of the SBCPHD health care center patients have been diagnosed with a behavioral health issue.
“The Public Health Department’s Health Care Centers, homeless shelter clinics, and behavioral health providers are on the front lines delivering care and offering compassion to people dealing with emotional issues,” said Deputy Director, Dr. Doug Metz. “This funding supports our programs for individuals with mental illness and will foster improvements in treatment and recovery for people with mental illness. Most importantly this funding will allow us to hire the skilled staff we need to employ evidence-based practices which will help us meet the demand for these services in our community.”
Currently there are Behavioral Health Specialists (either Licensed Clinical Social Workers or Psychologists) at each health care center with part-time support offered at the PATH Shelter in Santa Barbara. In addition, there are Substance Abuse Counselors working with people who are experiencing homelessness throughout the county either in shelters or on the streets. This funding will expand the Department’s capabilities in offering access to care.
The Public Health Department serves a critical role by providing access to health care for the uninsured and underinsured through a county-wide network of five Health Care Centers and three homeless shelter-based clinics. The Department is actively expanding access to Behavioral Health Services because treating the whole person through the integration of behavioral health services and primary care saves lives, reduces poor health outcomes, ensures quality care, and promotes efficiency and cost savings.