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Counterfeit Opioids, First Responder Hotlines, and Other Idaho Behavioral Health News

Mental health and substance misuse concerns have resonated across the United States, including BestNotes’ home state of Idaho. Check out this news roundup of some of the top behavioral health-related stories affecting the state.

Fentanyl-Laced Counterfeit Drugs Increasing in Idaho

Idaho law enforcement agencies are warning the public about a rising supply of pain medications laced with the opioid fentanyl, matching an increase that agencies across the nation have noticed. Idaho State Police (ISP) reports that troopers seized 195 fentanyl pills in 2019, and 20,000 in 2020. The agency has seized nearly 28,000 fentanyl pills in 2021 up to September.

ISP Sgt. Kurt Sproat notes that counterfeit pills are often disguised as prescription medications that may fool new drug users, causing dangerous overdoses. Nycole Thomas, RN, of Northpoint Recovery in Meridian says that the treatment center plans to expand from 22 beds to 48 due to a rising demand for overdose treatment.

Crisis Hotline Opening for Idaho First Responders

Magellan Health, Inc. is launching a free, confidential, 24-hour crisis line for Idaho workers responding to the coronavirus pandemic. This includes all first responders and frontline health-care workers, as well as Idaho National Guard citizen soldiers and airmen assisting hospitals experiencing a surge of COVID-19 patients.

Hotline callers can dial 1 (800) 327-7451 (TTY 711) to speak directly with a certified licensed mental health clinician. Callers can also be connected to information about other available resources for those responding directly to the pandemic.

Organizations Receive Over $17 Million in Idaho Community Program Grant Funds

Thirty-five organizations in Idaho have received more than $17 million in Idaho Community Program Grant funds, as part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) for Child Care Development Fund. The awards have come through the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

These funds aim to serve children who have experienced academic learning loss and need behavioral health supports during the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizations that will receive grant funds include:

Boys & Girls Clubs (6 statewide clubs)
Idaho Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs
Children’s Home Society of Idaho
Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children (3 programs)
University of Idaho Extension (18 programs)
Idaho Resilience Project

Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics Have Potential for Idaho

Mental illness and drug overdoses are plaguing Idaho, but certified community behavioral health clinics could be the answer, Sen. Jeff Agenbroad (R-Nampa) and Rep. Brooke Green (D-Boise) write in an opinion piece for the Idaho Statesman. These facilities offer 24-hour crisis care and evidence-based services for individuals with behavioral health needs.

The lawmakers write that such clinics can help people avoid jail, reduce emergency department visits, and save taxpayer money. The Idaho Behavioral Health Council, appointed by Gov. Brad Little, has recommended that Idaho explore how to implement the certified community behavioral health clinic model.

Behavioral health providers in Idaho face many challenges. At BestNotes, we believe your EHR software shouldn’t be one of them.

We are committed to developing software that helps your practice function more efficiently, reducing the administrative burden for clinicians so they have more time to do what they do best. Get in touch with us today to find out what we can do for your practice!

date:  Oct 14, 2021
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Mental Health Resources for Teachers, Addressing Police Policy Gaps, and More Idaho Behavioral Health News

BestNotes is dedicated to serving behavioral health and addiction treatment providers across the United States. Here’s a look at some of the major news stories that could impact behavioral health organizations in Idaho.

Statewide Mental Health Resources Available for Idaho Teachers

Teaching can be stressful at the best of times, but especially during a pandemic when educators are adapting to new teaching models, following additional safety measures, serving students’ emotional needs, and addressing their own health concerns. All that stress can create mental health issues like anxiety and depression, so school districts around Idaho are offering a variety of programs and resources for teachers in need.

Resources for teachers across the state include:

At the Nampa School District, teachers in many buildings have access to on-site staff counseling from outside vendors through the Employee Assistance Program.
Idaho Strong, an initiative from the state Department of Health and Welfare, offers emotional support, connection to resources, resilience skills, and education for Idahoans struggling mentally or emotionally with the pandemic.
The Boise School District offers a “Virtual Peace Room,” where students and families can find resources to help manage emotions during this period.

Northwest U.S. Sees Higher Death Count Not From COVID-19

Thousands more individuals in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington state have died in 2020 compared to a typical year, but many of those deaths are not from COVID-19. Idaho alone has seen about 1,100 more deaths than a normal year, according to preliminary federal and state data, a 13 percent increase for Idaho.

While some deaths may be unrecognized COVID-19 deaths, other deaths are due to an increased rate of suicides and drug overdoses. Increased death rates can be attributed in part to increased loneliness and isolation. They may also be caused by delayed care due to halts on many types of medical care, fears of exposure to the virus in the emergency room, as well as the loss of health insurance due to job layoffs and financial difficulties.

Boise Chief Acknowledges Law Enforcement Policy Gaps

After six months in the role, Boise Police Chief Ryan Lee has found several improvement opportunities for the city’s police department policy. Speaking at a work session of the Boise City Council, Lee noted that there are areas that do not “reflect national best practice.” Steps to correct these policy gaps include:

Officers who have not already had 40 hours of crisis intervention training are scheduled to complete that training.
In December, officers will undergo an updated implicit bias training.
The Boise Police Department is working to create another two-member behavioral health response team to respond to calls involving mental health crises.

Between the COVID-19 pandemic and an increased demand for services, behavioral health and addiction treatment providers in Idaho face enormous challenges. It’s time for an EHR designed specifically for your needs. Whether you are conducting telehealth visits, reporting outcomes to regulating agencies, following up with clients, billing payers, or marketing your services, BestNotes helps you streamline your workflow to increase your efficiency, profitability, and client success. Contact us today to learn more about our solutions.

date:  Dec 08, 2020
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