2.4 min readPublished On: September 22, 2017

Sept. 20, 2017 – AxessPointe Community Health Centers was one of 43 health centers in Ohio that received an award from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) last week. HRSA announced that over $200 million will be distributed throughout the U.S. for health centers to increase access to substance abuse and mental health services. These funds will be used to help with mental health services and fight the opioid overdose crisis. AxessPointe received an award of $156,200 and the State of Ohio received a total of $7,438,746.

“As a health center, AxessPointe believes that the communities of Portage and Summit counties rely on us to provide them with the best health care possible,” said Christopher Richardson, CEO of AxessPointe. “This funding will further that effort by allowing us to join our community partners in the fight against the opioid epidemic. We will also be providing the necessary training to further integrate mental health and substance abuse into primary care.”

The Department of Health and Human Services increased funding as part of their new plan to help fight the opioid epidemic. The plan includes five points:

• Improving access to treatment and recovery services
• Targeting use of overdose-reversing drugs
• Strengthening our understanding of the epidemic through better public health surveillance
• Providing support for cutting-edge research on pain and addiction
• Advancing better practices for pain management

The funds are being distributed to health centers to focus on the treatment, prevention and awareness of opioid abuse in the primary care setting by increasing personnel, leveraging health information technology and providing training. Per the grant stipulations, award recipients are required to: (1) expand staff who will directly support mental health services, substance abuse services and opioid abuse awareness (2) provide access to expanded mental health services and (3) increase the number of mental health and/or substance abuse patients.

Health centers have been delivering affordable, quality and cost-effective primary health care services for over 50 years. Today, there are close to 1,400 health centers operating more than 10,400 service delivery sites throughout the United States. The most recent UDS report showed that almost 26 million people used a HRSA-funded health center for primary health care in 2016.

AxessPointe Community Health Centers, Inc. is a federally qualified health center (or FQHC, commonly called a community health center) with five current sites in Northeast Ohio, including three in Akron, one in Kent and one in Barberton. A FQHC is a not-for-profit corporation that delivers primary medical, dental and preventive health services in medically underserved areas. AxessPointe also provides behavioral health and OB-GYN services. Originally named Akron Community Health Resources, Inc., the first center was located in Akron, and received funding in 1994 from the Bureau of Primary Health Care to establish the first federally qualified health center in Summit County. AxessPointe now employs more than 100 care providers at its four locations. Visit axesspointe.org to learn more.

For a full list of awards, visit: https://bphc.hrsa.gov/programopportunities/fundingopportunities/aims/fy2017awards/index.html