Robert Young gets $4 million grant to benefit Muscatine area

Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlbert works as the Editor of Discover Muscatine Newspaper.

Muscatine Living

MUSCATINE, Iowa–For Muscatine County residents and many others in the region seeking mental health services, the Robert Young Center provides them with care. In May, Robert Young received a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration worth a total of $4 million over the next two years to expand services in Muscatine County, as well as in the Quad City area.

Director of Community Support and Care Coordination Paul Phares explained that the federal grant will allow Robert Young to close gaps in existing programming and increase community based services: “I’m very excited. This is a very big grant–there’s a lot we can do with it, he said. “We want to really target people who are having trouble managing their conditions and get people out in the community so they can get access naturally,” Phares extrapolated.

In practice, this could entail adding or expanding a wide variety of services. These include bolstering crisis management and risk assessment services, adding whole health services (which encourage people to address mental and physical health conditions simultaneously), hiring more community care coordinators, creating more veteran specific services, and providing more intensive interventions for those who utilize emergency services instead of mental health services to manage their conditions.

In Muscatine County, Phares says the grant will help Robert Young staff at Muscatine Center for Social Action continue growing the peer drop in center and develop programming to address the social determinants of mental and physical health (such as having stable work, living in good housing, and reducing substance abuse). Through carefully tracking outcomes, Phares hopes the coming increase in programming will benefit many throughout the county. “Ideally, the services we’re bringing will help people get the services they need,” he stated.

Currently, Robert Young plans to begin using the grant to pilot new services in the Illinois Quad Cities and then to expand them to Muscatine and Scott Counties once they prove successful. “I’d like to say they’d begin to see these services at a basic level by year two,” outlined Phares as he discussed the roll out of services in Muscatine County.

Though Robert Young’s grant provides them with funding for only the next two years, Phares emphasized that they have already begun taking steps to ensure funding for their new programming after the grant runs out. Phares shared that Robert Young has already reached out to Medicare and Medicaid and determined that these programs will cover the cost of many of these new services for their users. Though Phares did not give specifics, he stressed Robert Young has already begun looking for ways to cover the cost of services not covered by Medicare and Medicaid with other sustainable funding sources.

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