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Prestera awarded grant for $280,000

Jul. 30, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Prestera Center for Mental Health Services has been awarded a $280,000 Mental Health and Substance Abuse Service grant that will be used to expand service through technology upgrades.

Chief Executive Officer Karen Yost said the grant will affect rural consumers who need services but may not have the ability to get to Huntington or Charleston. Prestera Center, headquartered in Huntington, serves eight counties.

"It will allow our consumers to communicate with us in ways they have not before," Yost said. "We anticipate being able to serve more people and do it more efficiently."

Some of the grant will be used to expand the Technology Assisted Care telemedicine capabilities to reach clients and improve access to services and coordinated recovery support. The three-year program is expected to improve health outcomes for 2,000 clients.

Prestera officials expect a minimum of 900 people will use its expanded telemedicine process to manage their medications, access their care provider or receive specialty services which are otherwise unavailable to them. Through Prestera's existing electronic behavioral healthcare system, clients can obtain treatment and specialty care without barriers such as transportation, lack of qualified provider or stigma which may be inhibiting their access to care.

For example, Yost said, a person who needs to communicate with a recovery coach will be able to do so much more quickly than they can now with the web-based portal system.

While the tele-health system is being utilized in some counties, the equipment is large and not very mobile, Yost said. The new equipment will be more mobile and be available to more people. Consumers also will be able to access services through mobile and wireless devices.

"The hard work of addressing the problems of prescription drugs in our region is underway, and funding like this can go a long way in addressing the treatment needs and demand in our communities," said U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, who is a co-chairman of the Congressional Prescription Drug Abuse Caucus.

Sens. Joe Manchin and Jay Rockefeller said it's vital that resources are made available to combat drug and alcohol addiction.

"Drug addiction hurts more than just the person abusing drugs; it hurts loved ones, hinders job creation and destroys communities," Manchin said.

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