Monday, December 16, 2013 at 8:57 AM
MetroHealth Medical Center and the Cuyahoga County alcohol, drug addiction and mental health services board are sketching out how to spend millions of dollars in new county funding. Much of that spending is made possible by an increase in the health and human services levy voters approved this November. ideastream’s Nick Castele reports.
Under the plan approved by Cuyahoga County Council last week, MetroHealth will get an $8 million increase over two years. That brings the public hospital system to a total of $40 million in county funding each year.
MetroHealth CEO Dr. Akram Boutros says the money will speed up a plan to put health centers in about 20 Cleveland public schools.
“We’re hoping to be able to alter their view of their own health before they become real adults,” Boutros said. “So teaching them about healthy habits, demonstrating to them why they should take care of themselves.”
Boutros also wants to expand mental and physical health screenings for kids in the foster system.
The other group getting a big hike in county funding is the mental health and addiction services board. The county approved an increase of $10 million increase over two years.
Chief operating officer Valeria Harper says the board won’t decide what to do with the money until early next year. Harper says one option to put funds toward fighting and preventing heroin addiction.
“Arming particularly our schools systems and young adults,” Harper said. “While the average age for heroin addiction and use is really shifting. It used to be that middle-aged, Caucasian male. Now it appears that it’s…now trending as not discriminating against age or gender.”
Other options include a therapy group program for people leaving the mental health system – and putting funding toward housing services and services for people in the jails.
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