$3.6M in grants awarded to 21 Indiana health centers

(WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded $3.6 million across 21 Indiana health centers to help in the fight against two major health care battles: substance abuse and mental health issues.

HealthNet is a community health center in Indianapolis, and its representatives said it’s the first time they’re getting grant money specifically for those two areas of need. They say the need is crucial at this time.

HealthNet officials have seen first-hand the spike in mental health cases.

“In 2006, HealthNet saw 2,188 mental health patients,” said James Jones, the director of pediatric behavioral health. “Last year, we saw over 21,000.”

They say there have also been a troubling number of substance abuse cases.

“We see families destroyed because of drug use,” said Rick Reifenberg, the associate medical director of internal medicine and pediatrics. “We see people lose jobs and become homeless. It’s a tragedy, and it’s one we see every day in our health centers.”

State data shows that in 2015, more than 500 people died from opioid overdoses. In 2016, the Indiana Hospital Association reported there were nearly 1,000 suicides in the Hoosier state.

HealthNet plans to use some of the grant money to hire a third psychiatrist to serve their patients.

“We want to expedite that as much as possible and be able to service our patients as quickly as possible,” said Jones. “And so this is going to help us do that and touch more lives.”

The health center also wants to help pay patient fees for substance abuse treatment, which could cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. They said covering those costs could be crucial, since they serve many low-income patients.

The grant’s impact around the state could be life-changing.

“We’re so excited to be able to have this funding, and we hope to be able to touch so many more lives with it,” said Jones.

Below is a list of all the health centers that will receive grant money:

    • Community Health Net Inc. in Gary: $175,700
    • Echo Community Health Care Inc. in Evansville: $150,830
    • HealthLinc, Inc. in Valparaiso: $175,700
    • HealthNet Inc. in Indianapolis: $152,885
    • Heart City Health Center, Inc. in Elkhart: $175,700
    • Jane Pauley Community Health Center, Inc. in Indianapolis: $175,700
    • Lifespring, Inc. in Jeffersonville: $175,700
    • Maple City Health Care Center, Inc. in Goshen: $175,700
    • Meridian Services Corp in Muncie: $175,700
    • Northshore Health Centers Inc. in Portage: $131,789
    • Open Door Health Services Inc. in Muncie: $175,700
    • Porter-Starke Services Inc in Valparaiso: $175,700
    • Purdue University in West Lafayette: $175,700
    • Raphael Health Clinic in Indianapolis: $175,700
    • Riggs Community Health Center Inc. in Lafayette: $175,700
    • Shalom Health Care Center Inc. in Indianapolis: $175,700
    • Southlake Community Mental Health Center Inc. in Hammond: $175,700
    • The Health and Hospital Corp of Marion County in Indianapolis: $175,700
    • Valley Professionals Community Health Center Inc. in Clinton: $175,700
    • Wayne County in Richmond: $175,700
    • WindRose Health Network, Inc. in Trafalgar: $175,700