LINCOLN, Neb. (KCAU) – The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), working in a partnership with Community Alliance in Omaha, has announced a five-year, $2 million per year federal grant through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

That’s $10 million total through SAMHSA for five years.

The grant’s purpose is to test and refine an evidence-based and trauma-informed model of planning and care that fully integrates health, mental health, substance abuse, and recovery-oriented care and treatment for adults with serious mental illness, with a specific focus on those with co-morbid chronic health conditions.

The model will be developed in the metro area of Omaha with the goal of dissemination of the lessons learned to all of the other regions in Nebraska.

“This grant supports DHHS’s mission to improve the health and wellbeing of Nebraska’s most vulnerable populations. We are excited to be one of only four states awarded this grant, and also excited to partner with Community Alliance who has a long history of providing excellent community-based care,” said Janine Fromm, M.D., executive medical officer for DHHS.

The other states receiving the SAMHSA grants are Alabama, New Jersey, and Tennessee.

The funds from the grant will be utilized to add and test strategic functionalities necessary to attain a fully integrated care model for:

  • People living with serious mental illnesses
  • Provide staff training on evidence-based practices
  • Develop a model for engagement at the point of first contact and meeting immediate physical health, behavioral health, and social determinant needs
  • Provide rapid access to in-depth assessments in mental health and chemical dependency necessary to plan treatment and establish a diagnosis for third-party reimbursement
  • Expand the use of population focused health strategies
  • Expand numbers served and therapeutic functionalities delivered via telehealth

The DHHS and Community Alliance applaud the collaboration between the public and private sectors that have led to the SAMHSA grant award that includes the divisions of Public Health, Medicaid and Long-Term Care, and Behavioral Health.

The Division of Public Health will serve as Nebraska’s lead for the grant and a statewide integrated care task force will be created to review the evaluation data and provide feedback on the project’s activities and findings.