August 23, 2018
Over the past 25 years, we have witnessed changes and innovations that have improved health outcomes for people living with mental health issues, substance use disorders and/or intellectual and developmental disabilities. Changes in attitudes and policies have created a more progressive system for the people that we exist to serve. Integral Care has grown in this time to serve more than 30,000 people each year through more than 30 programs with a workforce of nearly 900 people. Leading this large network of dedicated and experienced staff is our CEO, David Evans. This month marks David’s 25th anniversary as CEO and we are thrilled to recognize this milestone.
Read more in our monthly newsletter Transparencies.
Integral Care is honored to be one of the few Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) pilot sites in the state of Texas. Through a rigorous application process, Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) selected us as 1 of only 8 sites (among 25 interested centers) that exhibited the highest levels of readiness to participate in the CCBHC certification process. Over the course of a planning year, Integral Care prepared to become a CCBHC through continued partnership with HHSC staff, and in October 2016 received HHSC’s certification.
Becoming a CCBHC pilot site has meant adopting new national guidelines that standardize operations for mental health, substance use, community based and physical health care services. CCBHC standards promote better access to high quality care for people with serious mental illness, those with severe substance use disorders, children and adolescents with serious emotional disturbance and those with co-occurring mental, substance use or physical health disorders. The CCBHC model puts an emphasis on the provision of 24-hour crisis care, culturally competent care for veterans, utilization of evidence-based practices, care coordination and the advancement of the integration of behavioral health and physical health care. As early adopters of CCBHC standards, Integral Care is positioned to help guide the nationwide policy.
CCBHCs are the future of care delivery in our evolving health care ecosystem. By working within the CCBHC model, we are positioning Integral Care for better funding opportunities at the federal, state, and local level. In March, Congress passed an omnibus spending bill allocating $100 million to CCBHCs. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will be distributing those funds via a grants process sometime next month. New CCBHC funding is anticipated to make a big difference in the area of treatment for opioid disorders.
Ultimately, operating as a CCBHC improves care delivery and thus improves the overall health of the people we serve.
April 30, 2018
Integral Care is excited to announce our FY17 Annual Report. Learn about the work we did last year to support adults and children living with mental illness, substance use disorder and intellectual and developmental disabilities.
April 11, 2018
February 14, 2018
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission recently announced that 14 local communities will receive grant funding to help reduce recidivism, arrest and incarceration of individuals living with mental illness through Senate Bill 292. Integral Care received preliminary notice of an award anticipated to be $2.5M on an annual basis.
Integral Care in collaboration with Travis County, Central Health and the City of Austin proposed to establish a new Forensic Assertive Community Treatment (FACT) team linked to permanent supportive housing in our community. FACT is an intensive, multi-disciplinary team-based intervention that stops the revolving door of incarceration for individuals living with serious mental illness. FACT will serve individuals who have been arrested for minor offenses or felonies as well as experienced recurring and lengthy in-patient mental health hospitalizations, most of whom are living homeless in our community. The FACT team will use their unique expertise to serve 90 of the most frequent users of criminal justice, which is expected to reduce the overutilization of emergency services, jail visits and inpatient hospital stays.
Nationally, 2 million people with mental illness are booked into jails each year. In Travis County, 25-30% of individuals in our jail system receive treatment for a mental illness. When individuals are unable to receive the mental health treatment and care they need, symptoms and conditions can worsen. Once a person leaves jail, they may not have access to health care and may have a difficult time finding a job due to a criminal record – both of which can impact access to housing and start the cycle of homelessness, emergency room usage and incarceration once again.
The FACT community-based treatment team will offer access to mental health care, counseling, medications, family education, primary health care, peer support and permanent supportive housing. Once an individual is housed, the FACT team will provide ongoing wrap-around services to support improved health and well-being in order to keep people in housing and out of the criminal justice system.
Please contact Elizabeth Baker, Integral Care’s Practice Manager of ACT and Specialty Services, at Elizabeth.Baker@IntegralCare.org with any questions.
All Integral Care non-essential services, including our Dove Springs, Rundberg, E. 2nd and Riverside clinics, will be closed on Tuesday, January 16th due to dangerous weather conditions.
Essential services will continue to operate under normal business hours. Essential services include Integral Care’s 24/7 Crisis Helpline and Psychiatric Emergency Services (PES). Please note: PES is now located at 1165 Airport Blvd, Austin, 78702. Tuesday hours are 8am to 10pm.
If you need help now, please call Integral Care 24/7 at 512-472-HELP (4357).
January 11, 2018
Integral Care’s Psychiatric Emergency Services (PES) moved to a new location – the Richard E. Hopkins Behavioral Health Building, located at 1165 Airport Blvd., Austin, 78702. The new location has separate waiting rooms for adults and families with children as well as plenty of free parking. It is also accessible by 3 Cap Metro bus lines.
PES hours are Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm, and Saturday, Sunday and Holidays from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm. PES is a walk-in urgent care clinic that supports adults, children and families experiencing a mental health crisis.
The collaboration is part of the Mulva Clinic for the Neurosciences, launched last year through a $50 million gift from James and Miriam Mulva and the Mulva Family Foundation. The new clinic is in the Health Transformation Building of the Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin.
The clinic serves people living with the most complex mental health conditions — the population served by Integral Care, the local mental health authority serving the Travis County community since 1967. Integral Care will provide expert therapists and other mental health professionals to work in the clinic, as well as ongoing treatment and care to patients through other Integral Care services and programs.
“This is a unique partnership between academia and community-based mental health care,” said David Evans, Integral Care’s CEO. “Integral Care and Dell Medical School are leveraging their combined skill sets, expertise and knowledge to help individuals experiencing complex mental health issues to improve their health.”
The collaboration is unique among the clinics that have been established so far under UT Health Austin, the school’s clinical practice: in the new clinic, the practice team is led by Dell Med faculty physicians and Integral Care professionals. Providers will use the team-based, data-driven models and processes employed by UT Health Austin’s existing musculoskeletal, neurological and women’s health clinics. These innovative approaches are designed to increase value to patients by improving health outcomes and reducing costs.
UT Health Austin plans to offer similar services for other patients with bipolar disorder, including those with private health insurance and referred by outside providers, starting in the spring.
“The goal is to improve patient outcomes, regardless of a person’s ability to pay,” said Dr. Stephen Strakowski, chair of Dell Med’s Department of Psychiatry. “This community has a tremendous need for more mental health care. This collaboration with Integral Care will allow us to start providing that care as quickly as possible, and we’re looking forward to expanding services next year as we grow.”
Patients in the clinic will see a team of mental health specialists — a Dell Medical School doctor who is an expert in bipolar disorder, as well as Integral Care licensed therapists and a licensed vocational nurse who provide ongoing mental health support throughout their care. The team works together closely to provide the best possible mental health care in order to support the health and well-being of each patient.
“The clinic is primarily focused on helping people who are experiencing acute mental health episodes — we want to stabilize them in the clinic to support their recovery,” said Dr. Jorge Almeida, who directs the clinic. “Providing this specialized service ensures people get the right care at the right time and in the right location, which reduces the strain on emergency rooms and hospitals and improves patient health outcomes. Once patients are stable, they will seamlessly transition into Integral Care’s excellent community-based programs, helping them heal over the long term.”
In addition to therapy, case management and nursing, Integral Care provides a full array of services to patients, including crisis intervention and substance use disorder treatment.
“This is an opportunity to build our community-based workforce,” said Dr. James Baker, Integral Care’s systems chief medical officer and a member of Dell Med’s psychiatry faculty. “For the first time in Travis County, medical students and residents have the opportunity to experience community-based mental health care. Our hope is that some will be inspired to stay and provide this crucial care in our community.”
For more information, contact:
Steve Scheibal, Dell Medical School, 512-495-5062 (w), 512-762-8808 (c)
Anne Nagelkirk, Integral Care, 512-440-4034 (w), 512-468-3803 (c)
November 15, 2017
Registration is now open for the 18th Annual Central Texas African American Family Support Conference. It will be held February 27th and 28th at the Palmer Events Center. For the past 17 years, thousands have attended the conference to learn how to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness, eliminate health disparities and strengthen awareness of mental and physical healthcare resources.
Our upcoming conference welcomes three stellar mental health advocates as our keynote speakers: Trina “TiTi Ladette” Cleveland, Nicole R. Conway and Dr. Ryan Sutton. Please join us for another amazing year. To register or learn about more ways to be involved, please visit our website. We look forward to seeing you in February!
If someone stopped breathing or showed signs of having a heart attack, most people would know how to help. They’d begin administering CPR or call 911. But many of us don’t know how to help someone who may be experiencing a mental health issue. Integral Care, the Local Mental Health Authority in Travis County, is providing free classes to help educate the community on this important issue.
Tonke Casarez works in maintenance for the City of Austin Housing Authority. As part of his job, he interacts with people every day.
“I really like doing this job, meeting new people, talking to people,” said Mr. Casarez, a Mental Health First Aid Graduate. “I’ve always been a people person. I love to interact and get to know everybody,”
His experiences at work and home prompted Mr. Casarez to take Mental Health First Aid, a one of a kind, nationally-recognized mental health training course, so he could learn how to better support the residents. Mental Health First Aid is an 8-hour class that teaches people how to help someone showing the signs of mental illness like depression or anxiety, or experiencing a mental health crisis. The class is offered free to the community in Austin, Round Rock and Georgetown thanks to a generous grant from St. David’s Foundation. A partnership with Bluebonnet Trails Community Services makes it possible to offer classes in Williamson, Bastrop and Caldwell counties.
“We recognize that encountering a mental health crisis leaves many of us wondering how best to respond. St. David’s Foundation is delighted to provide support to Integral Care so that more Central Texans can participate in Mental Health First Aid classes, and gain a better understanding of mental illness, and how to assist those who are affected,” said Kim McPherson, Senior Program Officer for St. David’s Foundation. “I’ve personally taken the class and found it useful in my personal and professional life.”
Since 2009, Integral Care has offered Mental Health First Aid training to over 3,500 people in Austin. With 1 in 5 people experiencing a mental health issue any given year, it’s a great resource for the community. Attendees learn:
- Warning signs, symptoms and risk factors of mental illness
- Information on depression, anxiety, trauma, psychosis and substance use disorder
- A 5-step action plan to help someone in crisis or showing signs of mental illness
- Professional and self-help resource
The goal of Mental Health First Aid is that attendees walk away with a toolbox they can pull from in their daily lives – whether at work, school, home or in the community.
“If they experience a situation where someone might need mental health support, they can use their skills from their Mental Health First Aid experience to support someone facing a mental health crisis or showing early signs of mental illness.” said Tracy Abzug, Practice Manager and Mental Health First Aid instructor at Integral Care.
“I recommend this class for everybody,” said Mr. Casarez. “I think everybody needs to learn that just because a person is acting a certain way, they’re not trying to act that way toward you. It’s just the way their mental state is or what is happening in their life at that time. Taking this class has also impacted my personal life. My son has ADHD and this has helped me recognize when he might be having anxiety or feeling depressed.”
Take a class. Save a life. Strengthen your community. Sign up today. To register for a class, visit bit.ly/MHFATexas. To learn more about Mental Health First Aid and how you can support your friends, neighbors, co-workers and family, visit IntegralCare.org/MHFA.
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