Southeast Health Group Describes New Programs for County Commissioners

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Connie Brase, Community Liaison for Southeast Health Group, provided a six month assessment for Emergency Transport Services for Prowers County this past Tuesday, March 17.  “We wanted to provide figures on usage in Prowers County for emergency transport,” she told the County Commissioners.  The figures showed 6,809 miles at a cost of $3,881 between July 1 and December 31st, 2014.  “These are non-staffed rides as we are de-criminalizing these mental health issues so that the Sheriff’s Department is not called into service,” she explained.

Brase said family members can accompany a person on a trip as long as there is no question of any type of violent risk, as they will then request the sheriff’s department to assist in the transport.  Sheriff Zordel said, “Our numbers are way down for this, but we have had a few requests to provide a deputy.”  Brase added, “This has been a very good partnership.”  Some of the destinations for treatment include Denver, El Paso County Detox, Centennial Peaks and Cedar Springs, as well as Resada in Las Animas.  Brase said state funding has helped pay for the transport to the point that the Southeast Health Group doesn’t need to apply for funding from the county for at least another year.

Southeast Health Group has expanded their services to providing counseling at the Prowers County Jail, “We have started the jail-based treatment for inmates at the jail for the inmates.  The Sheriff’s Office will do an intake referral to us and then we have an LPC who does an assessment, sees if there’s substance abuse or mental health issues with the inmate, sees if they would like treatment started right then and right there.  We have a substance abuse counselor and a mental health clinician who will offer services.  We also have a case worker who will help them transition,” she explained.  Brase said this helps connect inmates to services outside of the jail while they’re still serving time, so they can make an automatic transition to the services once they’ve been released.  “When they leave jail, it’s a smoother transition.  They know where they can go for help.  They’ve already gotten started.  We’re hoping this will lower the recidivism rate and reduce the number of repeaters.”  She added that the service is provided to all the jails in the six county region and is being paid for through long-term grant funding.

Brase said marijuana tax money is also funding a new drug education program currently underway in Bent County.  She said, “A clinician visits the Las Animas schools to educate students about marijuana and substance abuse.  That will be spreading into the community as we go and we’ll know in July if it gets renewed.  If it does we’ll be spreading the program into all six counties.”  Commissioner Buxton-Andrade suggested making a future contact for the program in Lamar through the HOPE project, reaching the Rise Above students who are enrolled in the program.

In other action, the Commissioners were given a presentation on the SECED Enterprise Zone Recertification process for the five county region by Stephanie Gonzales, who was recently hired as the new Executive Director of Southeast Colorado Enterprise Development.  “This is a state mandated process,” she said, “We’re already qualified for recertification in the region, but the state has stipulated we all need to do this.”  She said Prowers County qualifies for both the standard Enterprise Zone designation, as well as the Enhanced E.Z. coverage, based on several factors, combinations of economics and population assessments for each county compared to the state average.

SECED helps market five counties in the southeast Colorado region to attract business growth and development of new businesses and the expansion of current business ventures in Baca, Bent, Prowers, Crowley and Kiowa counties.  SECED also provides gap funding for business projects, provides economic incentives for additional employees to an existing business and offers low interest home improvement or rehabilitation loans to qualified home owners in those five counties.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: AgricultureBusinessCommissionerscommunityCountyEconomyEducationFeaturedHealthLaw EnforcementProwers CountyPublic SafetyYouth


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