HARRISONBURG — The Harrisonburg Community Health Center was awarded $167,000 in federal funding to support behavioral health services, including mental health and substance use disorder services.
U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, both D-Va., announced this week that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources would be giving more than $3 million in total to 21 health clinics across the state.
Lisa Bricker, the executive director of the Harrisonburg Community Health Center, said staff applied for the grant in July.
“This will double our access to behavior health services,” she said in a Thursday interview. “It’s huge for our patients — being able to grow this access to behavior health counseling is paramount to overall health and well-being for the individuals we care for.”
The $167,000 is required to be put toward behavior health services and service equipment.
“This federal funding will help ensure that these clinics can continue to provide lifesaving treatment for addiction,” the senators said in the Wednesday press release.
The money will be put toward not only doubling access to behavioral health services, but also to add two additional counselors for The Community Health Center of Elkton and placing a counselor in the clinic embedded at the Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community, according to Bricker.
The main facility of the Harrisonburg Community Health Center, located at 1380 Little Sorrell Drive, Suite 100, has grown in its behavioral health services in the past year and a half, according to Bricker.
“The demand for services has been more than we have been able to meet, but this money will help the needs for people to see the nurses, clinicals and services,” Bricker said.
With this grant, which became available to the nonprofit organization on Aug. 1, money is allocated and the health center must prove it has spent it before being able to draw more money out, according to Bricker.
Bricker said procedure equipment to support telehealth services for psychology “is huge in our community.”
“We don’t hear about as much access to psychiatric services as are needed in the area,” she said. “And low-income or uninsured have little to no access to it.”
Bricker said renovations are occurring to the main site of the center and administration staff is being moved off-site. This will allow up to nine more exam rooms along with hiring. The main site currently has 21 exam rooms, VMRC has four and Elkton has eight.
“If the needs are there, we will try our best to meet those needs of the community,” she said.
The Harrisonburg Community Health Center also has a 330 federal grant, which all community health centers across the country have.
Community Health Centers, also known as Federally Qualified Health Centers, provide care regardless of one’s insurance status or ability to pay.
There are around 1,400 health center organizations with more than 11,000 locations in urban, suburban and rural communities across the country in all 50 states and U.S. territories, according to the National Association of Community Health Centers website.
The Harrisonburg Community Health Center has $1.2 million available to them through the 330 federal grant, Bricker said.
“The $1.2 million doesn’t even come close to the uncompensated money that we provide, but we never turn anyone away,” she said, adding that the organization is always looking for community donors to help.