L&P expanding its services

MARIETTA – Local mental health services and addiction counseling center L&P Services, Inc. is preparing to expand its services to include physical health care.

“Finding people in our area that are accepting new Medicaid patients is hard. We want to offer that care to our clients directly,” said Brent Phipps, CEO and licensed social worker at Marietta’s L&P Services Inc.

The new medical services will be provided at L&P’s new Marion Street campus which is expected to open July 1 at 215 Marion St., said Phipps. The campus will also house therapists and counselors, but the company will maintain its current Colegate Drive location, he added.

To qualify as a patient at the new facility, an individual must be a Medicaid patient who suffers from a severe and persistent mental illness and must also have risk factors or signs pointing to a debilitating ailment, such as diabetes, heart disease or chronic pulmonary disease, said Phipps.

The expansion is made possible because of a new Health Homes project being implemented in Ohio, which allows community behavioral health providers who meet state defined requirements to be certified as a health home, said Phipps.

“We have a huge number of people who come in to receive our services who have no primary care physician,” he said.

The project is aimed at growing the number of mental health or drug and alcohol treatment centers which also aggressively coordinate physical care for their clients, said Phipps.

Under the Affordable Care Act, physical health care that has been coordinated through a designated health home is eligible for 90 percent Medicaid reimbursement through the federal matching assistance program, said Jeff Capobianco, an integration consultant with the National Council for Community Behavioral Health Care.

To apply for the health home designation, mental health service providers have to prove that they are also coordinating physical health services for their clients. For example, health homes would help clients set up doctor’s appointments, fill prescriptions and set up dental check-ups, said Phipps.

“This cross-coordination has been shown to significantly reduce costs and improve health outcomes over time,” said Capobianco.

A lot of primary care providers haven’t been trained to treat people with chronic mental health disorders or substance abuse issues, he said.

Patients with a serious and persistent mental illness are less likely to receive the physical care they need and therefore die 25 to 35 years younger than the general population, said Capobianco.

“People can now come here instead of waiting until it gets bad enough to go to the emergency room. That can really cost a lot of money,” he said.

The new facility could mean up to seven new positions, such as nurse, secretary, office manager, case manager, therapist, and counselor. The new location will also employ a doctor of osteopathy and a medical doctor, said Phipps.

L&P Services is currently in the process of applying for the designation, he added.

According to the Ohio Department of Health, five pilot programs have been enacted across Ohio and are currently coordinating services for 14,000 individuals.

Additional health homes will be implemented July 1 and if all goes well, the opening of L&P’s new campus will coincide with that.