A new Behavioral Health Center building is scheduled for construction. The new building will be adjacent to the current Prairie Band Health Center facility located at 11400 158 Road, on the reservation. The new building will house the behavioral health programs currently provided by the Potawatomi Health Center and will house approximately 6 full-time staff.
The build is scheduled to begin in early 2017 with anticipated completion by mid-summer. The construction cost of the project totals approximately $2 million. The bulk of the funding is through a loan with the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), along with funding from IHS (Indian Health Service) and a small portion being contributed by the Potawatomi Health Center surplus.
Sabatini and Associates, Inc. are the architects of the new one-story building, which will be approximately 5,800 square feet. Two special features of the property will include a room designed expressly for group therapy and a crisis room. Sabatini and Associates, Inc. also designed the Potawatomi Tribal Court located to the east of the Health Center complex.
The idea for a new space for the behavioral health program began approximately three years ago. Two considerations motivated the project. The first was a lack of space for the behavioral health program which is currently located in the east wing of the Health Center. The other significant consideration is providing people utilizing behavioral health services with a sense of confidentiality. Since then the ground work has been laid to make it a reality.
Along with plans to establish a new building, the Behavioral Health department has spent the last couple years focusing on increasing their commitment to carethrough acquiring certifications, increasing staff, receiving accreditation and updating the records system.
In 2015, the Behavioral Health program became state certified as an alcohol and drug recovery program. This distinction means the court system has to honor the request of Native Americans to receive treatment at the Prairie Band Health Center through the Behavioral Health program. Prior to this, the state could deny these requests and force patients to seek treatment elsewhere creating an unnecessary financial burden.The behavioral health program now works extensively with the local court systems (Prairie Band and Jackson County) to provide services required by legal obligations.
In addition to receiving certification, the program added a specialized staff position. Since 2015, the program has included access to a psychiatric nurse practitioner. This position is a benefit to those clients requiring psychiatric medications. Previously, if clients required medication they had to be referred off-site to receive a prescription.
Another initiative undertaken in 2015, by the Behavioral Health program was signing a 5-year agreement with Washburn University to serve as an internship placement site for Master’s level addiction professionals. Mendy Thompson, a current staff member of the Behavioral Health program, is completing her Master’s Degree through Washburn and will be the first intern to participate under this agreement in 2017.
Recently, the National American Indian & Alaska Native Addiction Technology Transfer Center Network funded by SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) reached out to partner with the Behavioral Health program and offer support to Native Americans working in an Indian Health Clinic to obtain their addiction counseling license. Dawn Masqua, a Licensed Master Social Worker was the first PBPN employee to meet the criteria and make use of this offer. Masqua has now obtained a Master Addiction Counseling temporary license and will take the exam to receive her permanent license in the near future.
Masqua has since been offered a full-time position with the Behavioral Health Program and will serve as a Behavioral Health therapist. She will provide addiction counseling, outpatient group therapy, individual behavioral health counseling and mental health, alcohol and drug evaluations and assessments.
With the addition of Masqua, the Behavioral Health program now consists of three dually licensed providers who can treat both mental health and provide alcohol and drug addiction counseling, an addictions counselor and the psychiatric nurse practitioner. Three of the providers have also obtained Anger Management certification adding another service available to clients.All services provided are available to any Native Americans with behavioral health needs.
Further positive contributions to the Behavioral Health program have included upgrading the records system to the Indian Health Service Electronic Behavioral Health Record System, passing the auditing process of the state of Kansas and receiving accreditation under the Potawatomi Health Center by the Joint Commission. The Joint Commission accreditation process ensures that the program is delivering the highest standards of care.
Between the internal organizational upgrades and the new physical structure the Behavioral Health Program is on track to provide a broad range of quality services to the local community. For more information regarding this program, visit www.pbpindiantribe.com/health-center-medical-services.aspx.