Ohio is seeing a surging demand for behavioral health services, straining the state’s public and private resources. At the same time, there are opportunities to meet these needs in a variety of ways. If you are a behavioral health or substance abuse treatment provider in Ohio, here is a roundup of related news stories.
Ohio’s Behavioral Health Services Are Strained, Report Finds
In a new report called “Breaking Point,” the Ohio Council of Behavioral Health & Family Services Providers found skyrocketing demand for mental health and substance abuse services. More than 70 percent of Ohio providers reported a higher need for mental health services from August to October 2021. Providers are also report that the need for adult substance abuse services is now more than 60 percent higher.
This increasing demand has also contributed to longer wait times for care, sometimes months long. In addition, more behavioral health care workers are leaving their jobs, worsening the shortage and wait for appointments. This data came from a statewide survey of private and non-profit behavioral health care organizations.
Behavioral health providers in Ohio are facing a stressful situation as demand increases amidst provider shortages and funding concerns. With the right tools, you can continue to provide quality services while lowering costs, increasing value, improving client outcomes, and reducing stress for your staff.
Ohio Adding New Mental Health Hotline
Starting July 16, Ohio residents who are experiencing a mental health crisis will be able to dial 988 instead of 911. This meets a federal government requirement that states launch a 988 hotline to address crisis calls. The Ohio House Behavioral Health Committee voted to add the hotline’s creation to House Bill 468, which will proceed to the Senate.
Ohio will expand coverage of the 988 hotline to the entire state, including the addition of six providers and a statewide backup network. In some areas, Ohioans will also be able to text 988 instead of call. The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services estimates that the new 988 line could receive at least 179,000 calls and texts in the first year alone.
States must fund the 988 hotlines themselves, and there is a question of how to do so in Ohio. The federal government has provided some funding, but Ohio’s hotline requires an estimated $136 million until 2027.
Opportunity to Expand Medication-Assisted Treatment in Ohio
Under the 2016 Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, many nurse practitioners and physician assistants in Ohio could administer medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid dependency. However, research published in the Ohio Journal of Public Health shows that few of them are doing so.
The study found that physicians still make up nearly 60 percent of providers administering MAT in Ohio. Researchers led by Ariana Pitcher, a 2021 alumna of the Ohio State College of Public Health, found that the state had an average 13.9 providers per 100,000 people, with rural counties lacking more resources.
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