2014 was a very important year in the field of behavioral health care. In January, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was implemented, giving all Americans access to affordable health insurance options. The ACA expanded access to mental health services for 62 million Americans who were unable to access these important services before, making it the most monumental legislation involving behavioral health care since John F. Kennedy signed the Community Mental Health Act in 1963. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) received a $144 million increase in federal funding, which meant more support for Primary Behavioral Heath Care Integration (PBHCI) and evidence based programs, among other things. In April 2014, President Barack Obama signed The Excellence in Mental Health Act into law. This legislation will establish pilot Certified Community Behavioral Health Center (CCBHC) programs in eight states and will increase access to community mental health and will create models for the standard of care at behavioral health centers across the nation. And, in July, the final rules for The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA) were implemented. The law now requires “group health plans and health insurance issuers to ensure that financial requirements (such as co-pays, deductibles) and treatment limitations (such as visit limits) applicable to mental health or substance use disorder (MH/SUD) benefits are no more restrictive than the predominant requirements or limitations applied to substantially all medical/surgical benefits1.” This final ruling demonstrates that our federal government views behavioral health care services as an essential health benefit.
In 2010, Trilogy partnered with Heartland Health Centers (HHC) and became one of 45 mental health organizations across the country to be awarded a competitive multimillion dollar, four year federal grant from the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in support of expanding our Integrated Healthcare Program (IHC). As participants in SAMHSA’s Primary and Behavioral Healthcare Integration (PBHCI) program, Trilogy became a part of a nationwide collective of innovative behavioral healthcare organizations that are addressing barriers to quality primary healthcare for individuals with serious mental illness which normally exist in the traditional, parallel treatment methods employed across the United States. Since 2010, the number of PBHCI grantees has grown from 45 to 100.
In 2013, Trilogy was awarded a Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) Substance Abuse and Intervention Services grant to enhance services for individuals living with substance use disorders. This funding provided Trilogy with the opportunity to implement an Integrated Dual Disorders Treatment (IDDT) Program that could be integrated into Trilogy’s other treatment programs and provide the people we work with, who live with dually diagnosed mental illness and substance use disorders, access to an evidence based practice with proven treatment outcomes. We hired Courtney Emery, Trilogy’s IDDT Program Coordinator, in September of 2013 and began accepting clients into the program in November of 2013.
Since 2010, Trilogy has experienced substantial growth and numerous changes that have enhanced our ability to provide the most up-to-date behavioral health services to a historically underserved population. In 2010, Trilogy served 579 individuals living with serious mental illness. Today, we serve more than 1500 individuals each year. In 2010, there were approximately 60 Trilogy Team members working from 1400 W. Greenleaf to provide individuals with the best behavioral healthcare services available. We now have more than 235 positions spread across four offices in Chicago and Evanston and these employees are providing outreach, evidence-based clinical services and supports. And, in 2010, the Trilogy Beacon, our peer-led drop-in center, was just getting off the ground. With the support of a $330,000 Title XX grant we hired three part-time and two full-time Peer Specialists and an Employment Specialist. We opened the Trilogy Beacon with the intent of providing recovery services for approximately 400 participants per year who might otherwise not have access to treatment.
When Trilogy was selected by the State of Illinois to be one of the first community-based mental health organizations designated as a Williams Class Member service provider, we agreed to assist men and women who have lived in nursing homes for large portions of their lives with the transition of moving into their own independent apartments. As our Williams Transition Team began enrolling people into the program, they noticed that a large number of the residents moving out on their own needed individualized supports to address deficits in their day-to-day living skills.
During last week’s State of the Union (SOTU), President Obama addressed many important issues facing our nation. One “Call to Action” that really caught our attention and that of our fellow community mental health providers was the need to provide our military veterans with access to quality mental health care.
This week, much of the United States was hit by record breaking, dangerously cold winter temperatures due to a polar vortex that swept across the country. In Chicago, temperatures dropped to a record low of -16 degrees, with gusting winds creating a windchill index of -42 degrees on Monday, January 6th. These drastic drops in temperature can have an immediate negative impact on one's physical health. A person can start to develop the first signs of frostbite within just a few minutes of exposure to extreme, cold temperatures and can develop hypothermia if subjected to these temperatures for prolonged periods, as well.
In 2012, Trilogy received a grant from the City of Chicago's Department of Public Health (CDPH) as a part of the Minority AIDS Initiative Target Capacity Expansion (MAI-TCE) Integrated Behavioral Health/Primary Care grant. This grant allowed Trilogy to implement HIV testing for clients; provide CLEAR Counseling (Choosing Life: Empowerment, Actions, Results)—an evidence-based counseling curriculum targeted at individuals who have or are at risk for HIV; implement SBIRT (Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral to Treatment)—a comprehensive, integrated, public health approach to the delivery of early intervention and treatment services for people with substance use disorders, as well as those who are at risk of developing these disorders; and to provide our staff with the necessary resources to apply for one of three IAODAPCA (Illinois Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Professional Certification Association) Certifications: