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New mental health services highlighted

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RALEIGH — The Department of Health and Human Services has a new goal for patients as they roll out their community-based mental health services.

The Department wants patients to receive care closer to their home and in more efficient setting. It is a method of reaching out to North Carolinians without stretching too far into the state's budget.

DHHS leaders were joined by state and local mental health industry folks on Friday to applaud the new Critical Access Behaviorial Health Agency, known as CABHA. CABHA is a community based mental health agency that provides multiple services under one umbrella.

The healthcare community said it has forced them to look at their business in a different way.

“And what CABHA has done is required a departure from the past,” said Children and Family Services CEO Karen McCloud. “As small agencies have been asked to consider mergers and to view their peers as partners rather than competition.”

Southlight is a substance abuse agency that was recently certified as a CABHA facility, but its CEO, Dr. Tad Clodfelter, said it has always used the CABHA philosophy. He said if even if you provide multiple services, there is still another part to making this collaboration work.

“We still have to have a strong referral network. It takes a whole system of care to be effective. But it does mean in most cases if there is a substance abuse or addiction issue. We can care for the whole person,” said Clodfelter.

Cansler says it is important to have collaboration and local availability of continuum services because he says it's both good for the patient and the bottom line.

Of the more than 600 applicants to become certified CABHA's, the state has approved 175. They will provides services in all regions of the state.

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