Shaheen, Hassan & Shea-Porter Announce $500K To Expand Medication-Assisted Treatment for Substance Abuse Disorder in Seacoast

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) announced $502,729 in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Service grants from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The grant will fund Greater Seacoast Community Health’s efforts to expand medication-assisted treatment for vulnerable populations in Somersworth and the Seacoast region.

 

“Expanding medication-assisted treatment for Granite Staters struggling with substance use disorder is a significant step to strengthen our efforts to combat the opioid epidemic in New Hampshire,” said Shaheen. “This funding will provide critical resources to Greater Seacoast Community Health, increasing treatment options for those who need it most. We need every tool at our disposal to turn the tide of the opioid crisis, so I’m very pleased by these additional grants to help our health care providers. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I’ll continue to fight for more federal support for Granite Staters on the frontlines of this epidemic.”

 

“Medication-assisted treatment is the gold standard for opioid use disorder treatment and it is a critical part of the comprehensive approach that we need to continue implementing to curb the deadly tide of the opioid crisis,” said Hassan. “This federal grant will support those efforts by expanding access to medication-assisted treatment for some of our most vulnerable Granite Staters under the care of Greater Seacoast Community Health. I’ll keep fighting to secure additional resources so that those seeking treatment have access to the care they need to get their lives back on track.”

 

“We know that to turn the tide in the deadly opioid epidemic, individuals with substance use disorder need access to evidence-based treatment options, and that’s what this funding will support,” said Shea-Porter. “Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is critical in our state’s fight to combat the opioid epidemic, and we rely on organizations like Greater Seacoast Community Health to administer MAT programs. This funding was made available through the hard work of the entire New Hampshire Congressional Delegation, and I am pleased to see that Greater Seacoast Community Health will receive more of the resources it needs to serve our communities. Congratulations to Greater Seacoast Community Health, and I thank them for the incredible work they do to improve the health and well-being of our communities.”

 

“We are grateful to the delegation for this funding as it makes a big impact on our capacity to create more access to much needed treatment and recovery services,” said Janet Laatsch, CEO of Greater Seacoast Community Health. “This level of support means that we can expand our street outreach efforts to more of the homeless population, pregnant woman and women with dependent children, veterans, people struggling with co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders, and people involved with the criminal justice system.

 

Greater Seacoast Community Health was established when the Goodwin Community Health Center and Families First merged in January, 2018. The organization of Federally Qualified Health Centers serves 16,500 patients at clinics in Somersworth, Portsmouth, and Seabrook, providing primary care, prenatal care, breast and cervical cancer screenings, MAT, and intensive outpatient treatment for substance use disorder.

 

As members of the Common Sense Caucus, Senators Shaheen and Hassan helped secure an additional $6 billion to combat the opioid crisis in the budget deal signed into law in February, and helped ensure that a dedicated portion of that funding would be set aside specifically for states hardest hit by the opioid crisis. The congressional delegation led efforts to change the SAMHSA funding formula that puts states like New Hampshire with small populations and high mortality rates from opioid overdoses at a disadvantage. SAMHSA recently agreed to change this funding formula and also limit the number of states eligible for the set-aside funds to a targeted list of states, adhering to a request from the New Hampshire congressional delegation. Together, the funding increase in the omnibus funding bill and these subsequent changes to allocate additional resources to states with exceptionally high overdose death rates, have led to a substantial increase in resources for New Hampshire.

 

Last week, Senate and House negotiators announced the final funding legislation of the Departments of Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and other agencies for fiscal year (FY) 2019, which includes an extension of equivalent funding for opioid response efforts secured in the omnibus funding bill for FY 2018. The Labor-HHS funding bill provides $3.8 billion in funding, an increase of $206 million above the FY2018 funding level. This includes $1.5 billion for State Opioid Response Grants administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The legislation also ensures that New Hampshire will also receive $22.9 million in State Opioid Response Grants for FY 2019.

 

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$10M Grant Supports Behavioral and Physical Health in Strafford County

$10M Grant Supports Behavioral and Physical Health in Strafford County

Dover, NH.  The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services has received $10 million in  funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to integrate physical and behavioral health care for young people with severe mental illness or severe emotional disturbance.  Strafford County will see a portion of these funds directed to Community Partners, and Goodwin Community Health.

 

The department will receive this funding over five years to support ProHealth NH, a program designed to improve the health and wellness of people ages 16 to 35 with severe emotional disturbance and severe mental illness.

 

“This grant will enable us to build upon the important work we began last year within the mental health system,” said Gov. Chris Sununu. “Aligning physical health and mental health services makes perfect sense, and working with our largest mental health and community health partners to create a system of care will bring critical services to a greater number of young people, whose futures depend on them.”

 

The partnership between Goodwin Community Health and Community Partners will utilize this funding to provide a seamless approach of offering behavioral health services to clients, and then pairing these same clients with clinical teams that can simultaneously address co-occurring health care problems, chronic diseases and/or substance misuse disorders.

 

“Treating the whole self is vital to those with mental illness. This funding legitimizes the mental health crisis and its effect on individuals, families and our healthcare system.”, states Brian Collins, Executive Director for Community Partners.  “Individuals with mental illness often have additional physical ailments, and if left untreated, can result in tragic outcomes which could have been potentially avoided.  We are eager and proud to work with the care teams from Goodwin Community Health. Goodwin’s services fill a needed space in our community and together, our two organizations will change the lives of some of our most vulnerable citizens.”

 

“Support of this magnitude allows us to build on our partnership with Community Partners to expand much needed access to integrated behavioral health care and primary care for a population that can too easily fall through the cracks,” says Janet Laatsch, CEO of Greater Seacoast Community Health and Goodwin Community Health.  “Having well-organized resources and care coordination available for preventative care for young adults with mental illness and co-occurring physical health conditions is important.  It’s important both to the well-being of the long term prognosis of the individual and it’s important to keeping costs low for the overall health care system in our county and state.”

 

According to the World Health Organization:

 

  • People with severe mental disorders on average tend to die earlier than the general

population. This is referred to as premature mortality. There is a 10-25 year life expectancy

reduction in patients with severe mental disorders.

 

  • The vast majority of these deaths are due to chronic physical medical conditions such as

cardiovascular, respiratory and infectious diseases, diabetes and hypertension. Suicide is

another important cause of death.

 

  • The majority of deaths of patients with severe mental illness that are due to physical medical

conditions are preventable with more attentive checks for physical illness, side effects of

medicines and suicidal tendencies.

 

Community Partners is the state designated Community Mental Health Center, Area Agency and Family Support Center for Strafford County, offering a wide variety of services across an individual’s lifespan. For more information about Community Partners visit www.communitypartnersnh.org.

 

Goodwin Community Health is the only FQHC (Federally Qualified Health Center) in the Strafford County area to provide access to primary, dental, prenatal, and behavioral health care as well as community wellness and public health services.  For more information about Goodwin visit www.GoodwinCH.org

Goodwin Community Health and Families First Celebrate National Health Center Week

Goodwin Community Health Center will host a Tri-Chamber business after-hours mixer to mark National Health Center Week 2018. The event is part of a national campaign during the week of August 12th-18h to raise awareness about the mission and accomplishments of America’s Health Centers and the dedicated staff who bring health care to the medically underserved.

 

The Tri-Chamber event on Wednesday, August 15 will feature a mobile health van open for tours. The van, headquartered at Families First Health and Support Center in Portsmouth, drives to scheduled locations throughout Strafford and Rockingham counties providing health care to people in need. Wednesday, August 15 is Healthcare for the Homeless Day in National Health Center Week, and the two collaborating health organizations intend to shine a spotlight on the work being done for those affected by homelessness in the community.

 

Goodwin Community Health and Families First are part of a nationwide network of health centers that serve more than 27 million Americans. Health centers have compiled a significant record of success that includes:

 

  • Producing $24 billion in annual health system savings;
  • Reducing unnecessary hospitalizations and unnecessary visits to the emergency room;
  • Treating patients for a fraction of the average cost of one emergency room visit;
  • Maintaining patient satisfaction levels of nearly 100 percent;
  • Serving more than one in six Medicaid beneficiaries for less than two percent of the national Medicaid budget;
  • Lowering the cost of children’s primary care by approximately 35 percent

 

The heroes who work at health centers and help make affordable health care possible for people in need are at the center of this year’s NHCW.  More than 205,000 people work at health centers in positions that include clinicians, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, dentists and dental hygienists, behavioral health specialists, and much more. Working together, these health care heroes produce innovative solutions to the most pressing health care issues in their communities. They reach beyond the walls of conventional medicine to address the factors that may cause sickness, such as lack of nutrition, mental illness, homelessness and substance use disorders. It is their work that has helped reduce health care costs and reduce chronic disease, generating a record of success and along with it a long tradition of bipartisan support in Congress. Families First Health and Support Center and Goodwin Community Health can be found online as well as on Facebook. To learn more about National Health Center Week and the listing of events please visit: www.healthcenterweek.org.

New Hampshire eWIC Program Debutes at Goodwin Community Health

New Hampshire welcomed the first eWIC program in the state on Tuesday, July 31 at Goodwin Community Health Center in Somersworth. WIC (Women, Infants and Children) is being updated and expanded in New Hampshire to make the nutritional service more accessible to those who need it. State-wide integration of Electronic WIC services is expected in fall of 2018, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. The update to the systems includes a WIC Card which can be scanned at agencies and vendors for a faster, easier and more secure transaction process. Riona Corr, Director of WIC Services at Goodwin Community Health, noted the improvements at the premiere celebration on Tuesday. “Moving to eWIC provides a more positive experience for both WIC families and the retailers that serve our participants. It is secure and easy to use, and allows families to purchase food as needed, as opposed to purchasing everything on the paper voucher at once. WIC continues to be available for family or individual nutrition counseling, breastfeeding support and health assessments throughout the state.” Representatives from the Department of Health and Human Services met with Corr and other attendees at Janetos Superette in Dover for the first eWIC purchase in New Hampshire.

The Women, Infants and Children Nutrition Program aims to provide nutrition education and foods to help keep pregnant women, new mothers, infants and preschool children healthy and strong. Striving to make services more accessible by including eWIC cards will enable many more families and people in New Hampshire to maintain a healthy and balanced diet. Resources are available at health centers and online to see eWIC locations throughout the state. WIC Services in New Hampshire are not limited to food packages, nutrition and counseling, breastfeeding consultation, referrals and health screens are all available at WIC locations. To access WIC Services in New Hampshire, a family must be income eligible; reside in the service area, and be nutritionally at risk as determined by a staff nutritionist. Shifting towards the incorporation of technology in the process will enable more eligible individuals to access the nutritional programs. WIC Services at Goodwin Community Health Center can be contacted at (603) 332-4358, and are available to Strafford and Carrol Counties. Participating clinics are listed on Signupwic.com.

 

 

Rochester Pediatrician Joins Families First and Goodwin

ROCHESTER — Lilac City Pediatrics will merge with Greater Seacoast Community Health on Aug. 1, which the popular children’s practice says will allow them to increase the level of mental health and behavioral health services available in the Rochester area.

Dr. Walter Hoerman opened Lilac City Pediatrics in 1996. Since then, Hoerman said he’s seen the need for mental health and other support services skyrocket. Being able to better address that need is what excites Hoerman the most about integrating his practice into the nonprofit Greater Seacoast Community Health’s network.

“By doing this, I’ll have a lot more resources,” said Hoerman. “It’s been a very busy practice and it’s been a very successful 22 years, but in our local market insurance… is becoming terrible. We need to think of new models to do this.”

Greater Seacoast Community Health was formally created in January through the merger of two longtime Seacoast healthcare organizations, Goodwin Community Health of Somersworth and Families First Health & Support Center of Portsmouth.

Lilac City Pediatrics’ office, located at 180 Farmington Road in Rochester, will operate as the northern tip of the organization. Hoerman said he initiated the merger after he read news stories about Goodwin and Families First joining forces.

The merger is the latest in a growing healthcare trend as organizations throughout the region and country look to improve services while simultaneously reducing costs. Recently, both Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover and Exeter Hospital in Exeter affiliated with Massachusetts General Hospital.

Greater Seacoast Community Health serves roughly 15,000 local adults and children across Families First’s facilities in Portsmouth and Seabrook, Goodwin’s Somersworth facility and Goodwin’s five mobile health clinics, according to CEO Janet Laatsch. Many of those receiving services are uninsured, underinsured or lacking access to affordable, quality healthcare.

Laatsch said adding Lilac City to the fold will expand their reach and their overall pediatric services, as well as save costs because Greater Seacoast Community Health has been referring out certain pediatric services. She said adding Lilac City also complements the organization’s investment in increasing mental health and substance use disorder services in an area in which many patients have dual diagnoses.

“The big thing is it’s really all about covered lives,” she said. “It sort of normalizes the bell curve. All practices have outliers who have a lot of chronic diseases, which are more expensive to care for. This way, we have more quality outcomes with more pediatrics into our practices.”

The merger also allows Lilac City Pediatrics to become a federally qualified health center, which opens up grant opportunities. Hoerman said those grants will be used to hire several mental health providers in the coming months. A Greater Seacoast Community Health behavioral health specialist will also be moved into Lilac City Pediatrics’ office.

“Lilac City Pediatrics will continue to function just as it does, but we’ll be able to add a bunch more stuff,” he said.

More information about the practices can be found at LilacCity.comGoodwinCH.org and FamiliesFirstSeacoast.org.

SOS to rock and rally with Rochester concert

Legendary blues artist James Montgomery will headline the Third Annual Recovery Rocks Concert being hosted by SOS Recovery Community Organization (SOS RCO) Sunday, Sept. 23, at the Rochester Opera House.

Read a full article about the upcoming show here.

The FaceBook event for the concert can be found here.

N.H. DHHS hosts public hearing for State Opioid Response Grant

John Burns, executive director of SOS Recovery Services in Rochester, Dover and Durham spoke about the options moving forward for a proposal concerning the State Opioid Response (S.O.R.) Grant.

Read more Here

The public forum will take place on Monday, July 23rd from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the DHHS Brown Building Auditorium, 129 Pleasant St., Concord.

Nurse Practitioners Take Action In Response to Opioid Crisis

Our own Paige McCarthy, MSN, APRN, MPC was featured in a recent article from the Providers Clinical Support System. The article chronicles how, when and why health care professionals obtain waivers which allow them to prescribe buprenorphine, which is used to treat Opioid Use Disorder (OUD).

 

Read the full article here.

9th Annual Fathers Day 5k Brings Families Together on June 17th

Dover, NH, June 12, 2018 – Runners and walkers of all ages and abilities are invited to celebrate fatherhood at the 9th Annual Father’s Day 5K at Margaritas this Sunday, June 17, 2018.  This family-friendly race is presented by Digital Prospectors and Dover Emergency Room, a campus of Portsmouth Regional Hospital.  Proceeds from the event help all living in the Greater Strafford and Rockingham County areas gain access to quality health care through Goodwin Community Health and Families First Health & Support Center.

The Father’s Day 5K is a proud member of the Dover Race Series and takes place on a USATF-certified course, complete with margaritas-style food and fiesta after the race.

“The Father’s Day 5K has become a fun tradition for so many seacoast families.  People show up wearing neckties in honor of a special father in their lives.  Some run right along with dad, and some run in honor of a father or special father figure who may have passed on.” says Lara Willard, Community Relations Director for Goodwin Community Health. “Since Goodwin and Families First merged earlier this year, this is the first year that this race will benefit patients of both Goodwin Community Health and Families First.  We are looking forward to welcoming in all the new runners coming out to support this new partnership.”

New this year, the Families First Mobile Bus that serves the seacoast homeless population in multiple seacoast area mobile health clinics will be at the event and open for tours.

Runners and walkers can register online at Active.com through Wednesday, June 13th.  Advance registration is $20 for adults and $5 for children ages twelve and under.  Same-day registration is available beginning at 8:00 a.m. for $25. The race starts at 9:00 a.m.  All participants are encouraged to wear a necktie to honor dads and those special father figures everywhere.

The top male and female runners will win a $50 gift certificate to Runner’s Alley.  And $20 gift certificates to Philbrick’s Sports will go to the top males and females in each of the twelve age divisions:  14 and under, 15-19,  20-24, 25-29,  30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-55, 55-59, 60-69, and 70 plus.

Digital Prospectors and Dover Emergency Room, a campus of Portsmouth Regional Hospital, are this year’s presenting sponsors.

Additional sponsors include:

Platinum:  Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation and Novocure

Silver:  Anthem BCBS Medicare – East, Chinburg Properties, Kennebunk Savings, Margaritas, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, NH Healthy Families, Northeast Delta Dental, Optima Bank & Trust, and PELMAC Industries

Bronze:  Baker Newman Noyes, Chick Photography, Clark Insurance, ConvenientMD, Dead River Company, Dover Women’s Health, Homewood Suites, Newburyport Five Cents Savings Bank, Northeast Credit Union, Philbrick’s Sports, Runner’s Alley, Sulloway & Hollis, P.L.L.C., United Way of the Greater Seacoast, and Well Sense Health Plan

Goodwin Community Health and Families First Health & Support Center  are community health and family resource centers serving the greater Seacoast region of New Hampshire and Southern Maine. They provide  general medical care for people of all ages, dental care, prenatal care, counseling, substance misuse treatment, parenting classes, family programs, home visiting and family programs, and mobile health care for the homeless.  The two organizations merged in 2018, forming one of New Hampshire’s largest community health centers, serving almost 18,000 local adults and children, many of them uninsured, underinsured or lacking access to affordable, quality health care.  They operate centers in Somersworth, Portsmouth and Seabrook, NH, as well as mobile health clinics in multiple Seacoast locations. For more information, visit GoodwinCH.org and FamiliesFirstSeacoast.org.

For more information on the Father’s Day 5K visit www.GoodwinCH.org or www.doverraceseries.com.  For 5K questions, please contact Elizabeth Clemence at eclemence@goodwinch.org.

 

Photo Cutline: Race sponsors gather at Margaritas wearing neckties in support of the Father’s Day 5K: Michael Schidlovsky, ConvenientMD; Brian Mesley, Margaritas; Lara Willard, Goodwin Community Health; Tony Demers, Eastern Bank; Charissa Holt, Novocure; Samantha Reed, PELMAC Industries; Rob Gagnon, Optima Bank & Trust; Grant Turpin, Portsmouth Regional Hospital; Lauren Garza, Families First; Steve Merriman, Digital Prospectors; Joann Neumann, Families First; Sam Rose, Optima Bank & Trust

Strafford County Public Health and UNH Join Together for Mental Health Awareness Month

May is National Mental Health Awareness Month, and the University of New Hampshire, along with the Strafford County Public Health Network are making sure students are aware of all available resources to maintain and improve their mental health. College students can be particularly vulnerable to a mental health crisis, as they are working through a period of volatile changes and constant shifts in a short amount of time. Classes, busy social lives and jobs can leave little time for students to maintain their mental health. On top of that, the stigma associated with being diagnosed and treating mental health conditions can leave young adults afraid to seek help.  Nelson Thomas, a sophomore football player at UNH wants his fellow students to know that “there is no shame in asking for help.” Thomas, who was initially hesitant to approach his own mental health problems due to the common judgement associated with the process, envisions a culture which treats mental health and physical health as equal. “Having the ability to seek help for your mental and emotional highs and lows is just as important as your ACL. It’s crucial.”

Motivated by his vision, Thomas partnered with Project375, a mental health advocacy group, to create the Bench Out the Stigma event at UNH which raised money and awareness for an issue affecting many university students. The event, which took place at the UNH gym, brought physical and mental fitness onto a level platform where attendants learned how they can fight against the stigma of mental health and get a great workout at the same time. More than fifty people attended the event, which Thomas hopes will become an annual fundraiser for Project375 at the University.

Mental Health Awareness Month may end on June first, but the resources available to students and residents of Strafford County are evergreen. Ashley Ciampa, the Young Adult Prevention Coordinator for the Strafford County Public Health Network, has worked to spread awareness of these programs and resources. Nelson Thomas is one of many community partners with whom Ciampa plans on creating a network which will work cohesively to reach out to young adults and provide the tools which will prevent people suffering from a mental health crisis or condition from missing available assistance. “Stigma, in particular, can prevent those at risk from getting the help they need. Stigma reinforces isolating behaviors which go hand in hand with a mental health crisis.” Ciampa hopes to promote open dialogue about mental health utilizing a variety of avenues. “A lot of what we do throughout the year is online.” Ciampa added, noting the social media presence the Public Health Network has built. “We have an Instagram (Strafford_County_Health) and a Facebook (@StraffordPHN) which we use to promote events, share information and connect with people.” Students and community members like Nelson are often the best connection between an objective organization and the people they are trying to reach out to. “Having open platforms of communication for all people through social media can empower anyone to spread their story and encourage others to seek help.”

To learn more about the mental health resources available to students at UNH, visit https://www.unh.edu/health/services/mental-health.