ALAMOSA — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently awarded nearly $400 million to combat the nation’s opioid crisis. Of the $200 million committed to Community Health Centers or CHCs, Valley-Wide Health Systems (Valley-Wide) was awarded $167,000 to serve its local communities.
The goal of HHS is to enable CHCs across the nation to increase access to high quality, integrated behavioral health services, including the prevention or treatment of mental health conditions and/or substance use disorders. The funding will help health centers attain the tools they need to expand services, recruit and retain staff and advance evidenced-based treatment protocols to prevent and treat substance use disorders among medically underserved populations.
“Health centers and behavioral health providers are on the front lines of the fight against the opioid crisis and substance abuse, especially in rural communities,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “With our evidence-based strategy, HHS is working to support local communities in fighting back against substance abuse, and our united efforts are yielding results. Together, we can end our country’s opioid crisis and lay a foundation for a healthier country where every American can access the mental healthcare they need.”
Per President/CEO Jania Arnoldi, “Valley-Wide Health Systems is excited about this new funding. We are working hard to help patients in our service area with addiction and behavioral health services. Many of our Valley-Wide providers have obtained or are working towards Medicaid Assisted Treatment (MAT) certification. In addition, we have expanded our Integrated Behavioral Health team throughout the regions we serve. This new funding will help Valley-Wide continue to build the support needed to help our patients be successful with treatment.”
The announcement was made as part of National Community Health Center Week (Aug. 4 through Aug. 10), a national campaign that recognizes the mission and accomplishments of Community Health Centers. To learn more about Valley-Wide Health Systems visit www.vwhs.org.