Mangano Implements Program To Improve Access To Behavioral Health Care For Nassau’s Most Vulnerable Population
In an effort to further serve Nassau’s most vulnerable population, County Executive Edward P. Mangano today announced the establishment of an Assessment and Referral Center (ARC) to assure that those in need of assistance receive easy access to mental health, chemical dependency and physical health services in an outpatient setting as an alternative to seeking help through emergency room or hospital visits. The program, coordinated by the Office of Mental Health, Chemical Dependency and Developmental Disabilities Services in partnership with the Department of Social Services (DSS), identifies DSS clients who will benefit from receiving outpatient behavioral health care.
“Nassau County is now the leader in New York State when it comes to implementing innovative approaches to behavioral health care,” said County Executive Mangano. “This program is just another example of how government can work smarter and harder to improve the quality of life of those we serve while reducing costs for taxpayers.”
The newly established ARC program will be staffed with mental health and chemical dependency professionals who will conduct assessments, as needed, and when appropriate, connect individuals to Health Home providers who will assure that the client’s behavioral health and physical health care needs are effectively addressed on an outpatient basis.
“The co-location of mental health and chemical dependency operations with the Department of Social Services is a great opportunity to provide a health care intervention that prevents the development of a health crisis that would have resulted in a hospitalization,” added Lisa Murphy, Commissioner of Human Services.
Dr. John Imhof, Commissioner of the Department of Social Services added, “We are pleased to partner in this important endeavor, as it is certain to facilitate access to needed behavioral health care for individuals who have oftentimes fallen through the cracks in our health care system.”
The Director of the Office of Mental Health, Chemical Dependency and Developmental Disabilities, Dr. James Dolan, stated, “That during the course of one’s visit to the Nassau County DSS, the person will not only be able to receive DSS services, but during the same span of time, the individualwill also haveaccess to behavioral health care.”
In addition to making referrals to Health Homes, when indicated, staff will be directly involved in assuring that the client is connected to a community based behavioral health provider. It is also planned that the staffing pattern of the ARC will include Peer Specialists and Family Advocates. Other partners in this project include the lead Health Home agencies in Nassau County, which began the agency FEGS, and North Shore/LIJ Health Systems.