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A&C Launches Telehealth to Serve Wheeler Mission Guests

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Take away the walker, and Steve Dycus looks like a relatively healthy man who doesn’t need telehealth services. But as he lifts his right shorts to expose his leg, you can see the scar from the surgery that took place 20 years ago, after four gunshot wounds penetrated his leg.

What you don’t see are the struggles he’s endured since. The medication side effects brought on mental health challenges. He’s bounced from one doctor to the next, from one hospital to the next, from one prescription to another, seeking answers.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Steve’s predicament worsened. He contracted the virus. He endured serious, but not life-threatening, symptoms, so Steve couldn’t see doctors for his previous conditions. Because of the virus, he couldn’t stay with his girlfriend any longer.

He went to Wheeler Mission. There, Quedawnta Clemons, a case manager at the Mission, knew how to address Steve’s health concerns.

Steve Dycus uses an iPad to set up his health care services at Adult & Child Health.

She knew Wheeler recently partnered with Adult & Child Health to provide telehealth services for Wheeler residents. She knew A&C was a perfect one-stop shop for residents like Steve, who needed physical and mental health care, and until now, couldn’t get it in one place.

“It really puts a smile on my face to know I’m getting the help that I need,” Steve said. “I’m not getting any rejections or being put on the back burner about what’s good for me, and I can also have someone that listens and can get me the best feedback without the medications, without “try this, try that,” and the complications and the side effects are very real.”

How the telehealth partnership works

Adult & Child Health recently provided Wheeler Mission with iPads, where residents could register for health care services via telehealth. The resident registers while a Wheeler Mission case manager assists. Then Reba Chapple, A&C’s Certified Medical Assistant who serves as a liaison between the agencies, helps residents arrange appointments, fill out paperwork, and assist clients as they apply for insurance.

A&C has already helped about 35 Wheeler residents address their health concerns. The relationship began as A&C sought new ways to offer patients convenient access to services. COVID-19 forced so many changes in how health care providers limit in-person contact, and it kept lots of patients from making their appointments.

“Back in mid-May, we started having discussion about how to get more patients in the door and get more people access to care,” Chapple said. “Shirl (Demmings, Director of Practice Management) had talked to Wheeler, and they had patients that needed primary care and wanted behavioral health (services). I said I’d love to help with this in any way I can. We’re an FQHC (Federally Qualified Health Center), that’s our job. We devised a plan to do telehealth and get people seen.”

Chapple said most Wheeler residents who utilize the iPads for their health concerns seek several different health care services.

“Because of COVID, not being able to go see doctors, not having insurance, social distancing, we have a lot of guests here in the shelter who have mental problems that we have to deal with,” Clemons said. “We can still get the guests online, so that first interview with the iPad is letting them know what’s going on, since we couldn’t see them face-to-face.”

RELATED CONTENT: How Blue Triangle Helped a Homeless Man Recover

Who we’ve helped with telehealth

Steve Dycus isn’t the only one who’s benefited from the partnership.

“One guy had diabetes for 10 years, was homeless and didn’t have any insurance,” Clemons said. “He came in due to COVID, and we were able to get him on insulin and we were able to save his life.”

Since Chapple talks to every Wheeler client, she’s familiar with all of the stories. One stands out.

Reba Chapple

“There was a younger gentleman who had a long, complex medical history (heart failure), behavioral health issues … the list was epic,” Chapple said. “We were able to get him in a telehealth appointment and ordered labs for him. When he came in, he wanted to know which one of us was Reba. He hadn’t been on his heart meds, he had an eczema breakout. He said he had energy again. His case manager was elated. Actually seeing him in the clinic was my favorite moment.”

As for Steve, his gunshot wounds eventually gave him Peripheral Artery Disease, and the resulting plaque buildup in his arteries necessitated his walker.

Steve is just starting his journey with Adult & Child Health, but he’s excited about the possibilities.

“I just want to get lowered down to where I’m OK,” Steve said. “There’s just some things I have problems with; some issues mentally that I would like to speak to someone. I’ve been speaking to someone on the virtual camera because of COVID and it works to talk to somebody that listens, but I know I can have more dealing with Adult & Child.”

RELATED CONTENT: Why Adult & Child Health is an Ideal Agency to Offer Medication Assisted Treatment

How else A&C is addressing your health concerns

Adult & Child Health isn’t stopping with iPads at Wheeler Mission. We’re also offering Virtual Primary Care for those clients who aren’t comfortable making in-person appointments for their health concerns. All initial appointments, except those involving lab work and injections, will take place via Telehealth. Clients can call 1-877-882-5122 to make an appointment or learn more.

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Agency News

Adult & Child Health Receives CCBHC Designation

Adult & Child Health, a leading community mental health center in Central Indiana, is thrilled to announce it has been designated as a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC). This designation is announced alongside the exciting news that Indiana was selected as one of 10 new states to join the CCBHC Medicaid Demonstration Program. By becoming a CCBHC, Adult & Child Health can unlock critical resources to address the growing need for mental health services in Indianapolis. This includes crisis care, improved staff recruitment and retention thanks to sustainable funding, and the ability to expand their service offerings. CCBHC will allow Adult & Child Health to offer competitive compensation and top-of-market wages, making them a more attractive workplace for qualified providers. With the rich history and commitment of Adult & Child Health to making a difference, they can achieve even greater impact through this transformation. “Indiana’s selection for the CCBHC program is a major step forward in strengthening mental health resources for residents,” said C.J. Davis, CEO, Adult & Child Health. “This designation allows us to make a significant impact by expanding access to essential mental health services in Central Indiana. We’re committed to ensuring our community members have the resources they need to live healthy and fulfilling lives.” The Biden-Harris Administration announced the additional states being added to the CCBHC program earlier today. Adult & Child Health had been selected by the state to be a CCBHC if Indiana was selected, but the decision of which states would be selected to join the program had been pending until today. CCBHC is a transformational program that provides sustainable funding for designated organizations and has been shown to increase access to mental health and substance use care, reduce homelessness and substance use, decrease use of emergency rooms and hospitalizations and improve overall health outcomes. It requires that designated CCBHC organizations provide 24/7 crisis services, outpatient care within 10 business days, medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder, care coordination and support services, as well as other evidence-based treatments.

School Based Services

Perry Township School Enjoys a Successful Summer SEL-ebration

Students and families at Glenns Valley Elementary enjoyed a Summer SEL-ebration on May 15 thanks to the planning and preparation of Glenns Valley Elementary SEL Specialist, Miranda Mellendorf, and Glenns Valley Elementary Social Worker, Amanda Craig, along with support from the GVE PTA, GVE teachers, and additional members of the A&C SEL team. Attendees made tie-dye t-shirts, slime, decorated some petunia plants to take home, added to the GVE Gratitude Banner, helped with a collaborative sticker mosaic, played outdoor games, and discovered how all of these fun activities can help promote SEL. The event was free for students and their families and was made possible by a Family Engagement Impact Grant from the Perry Township Education Foundation.

Sarah Miller, PMHNP-BC

Sarah Miller works with the addictions team, general psychiatry for adolescents and adults, and the competency restoration team. She is board-certified as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. Her specialties are working in addictions and with people who experience serious mental illness.

Miller graduated from Indiana University with a psychology degree and went back to school for nursing. She received her nursing degree from Indiana Wesleyan University and worked in a nursing home and also spent time working in a group home with adolescents. She received her master’s degree from Vanderbilt University.

She enjoys hanging out with her family and her two dogs, and going to sporting events.

Joanna Chambers, MD

Dr. Joanna Chambers is a psychiatrist who began seeing Adult & Child Health patients in November 2021. She graduated from Medical College of Georgia with her Doctorate of Medicine in 1996 and completed her residency in psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine. In addition to bringing a wealth of experience, she currently serves as an associate professor at Indiana University School of Medicine where she teaches Clinical Psychiatry. She is certified in Addiction Medicine and has a special interest in treating pregnant and postpartum women. She is President of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis and Dynamic Psychiatry Organization as well as a sitting member of many medical association boards. Recently, she has won the Residents’ Award for Teaching Excellence in 2020 from Indiana University and has received “Best Doctors Award” in 2010, 2011, and 2014. Dr. Chambers is incredibly active in the medical, academic, and research realms of medicine. She is currently accepting new patients on Wednesdays.