The Genesis Family Health will be expanding their services for mental health and substance abuse throughout their 1,178 health centers including southwest Kansas.

The US Department of Health and Human Services and Health Resources and Services Administration awarded Genesis 2017 access increases of approximately $200 million.

The services of mental health and substance abuse will focus on the treatment, prevention and awareness of opioid abuse by increasing personnel, leveraging health information technology and training in the primary care setting.

"Genesis Family Health is well positioned to aid in tacking the mental health and opioid crises that exits within the service area," said Julie Wright, CEO of Genesis Family Health in a press release.

"The award will provide necessary resources to augment the essential services that the health center currently provides."

The Department of Health and Human Services will expand funding by improving access to treatment and recovery services, targeting use of overdose-reversing drugs, strengthening the understanding of the epidemic through better public health surveillance, provide support for cutting-edge research on pain and addiction and advancing better practices for pain management.

"Nationally, about half of all care for common mental health conditions happens in the primary care settings," said HRSA administrator George Sigounas, MS, Ph.D in the press release. "In health centers, where people are often most comfortable, staff with varied expertise have a unique opportunity to provide mental health and substance abuse services to patients who wouldn’t otherwise seek or have access to treatment."

According to the press release, rural states are more likely to have higher rates of overdose death, particularly from prescription opioid overdose.

Therefore, 496 health centers that will receive the access increase awards are located in rural communities.

According to Jeff Pfingsten, recruitment manager of Genesis Family Health, all of the southwest Kansas locations received this award.

Genesis Family Health is located at 1700 Ave. F in Dodge City. They can be contacted at 620-225-6821.

To contact the writer email vmarshall@dodgeglobe.com