Audubon Area Community Care Clinic received a $167,000 grant from the Department of Health and Human Services last week, which officials said will be used to hire a psychiatric nurse practitioner. The new position will allow the clinic to grow therapy services and help with the management of behavioral health medications.
“We are always trying to expand our services and this expansion grant is going to allow us to do that even further,” said Brandon Harley, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Audubon Area Community Services.
Audubon Area Care Clinic is a primary healthcare provider to the homeless, transiently housed and low income population of Owensboro and Daviess County. It was established with a 2016 federal New Access Point grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration. The clinic opened its doors in July 2017.
“Our patients don’t access primary healthcare,” Harley said. “They are often unemployed or underemployed. They are not pursuing ongoing healthcare. Often, by the time they seek help it means the emergency room.”
In 2018 Audubon Area was able to add a licensed professional clinical counselor strictly to provide substance abuse and behavioral health treatment. Harley said the most recent grant will expand those services even more.
“What we found when we opened the clinic was that our patients were not having their mental health issues addressed either,” he said.
Harley said the clinic has ongoing community outreach with local organizations like Owensboro Regional Recovery, Lighthouse Recovery Services and Friends of Sinners. And while the clinical counselor has been successful in helping these programs and all patients, a psychiatric nurse practitioner will allow the clinic to best manage mental health medications.
The Care Clinic saw 174 patients in 2017 and 573 in 2018. Harley said that number is close to 1,000 now and since the clinic’s inception, it has grown to $940,000 in funding including last week’s award.
Audubon Area Community Care Clinic’s most recent grant was one of 21 awarded to health centers across the Commonwealth. Kentucky received over $3.5 million to increase access to high quality, integrated behavioral health services, including the prevention or treatment of mental health conditions and substance use disorders.