CLEVELAND — I firmly imagine that nice individuals can work in a system that produces dismal outcomes. That’s not a criticism of the passionate and dedicated; it’s a condemnation of a damaged system. And that’s the system now we have as we speak in behavioral well being and dependancy providers in Cuyahoga County.
Final week, I appeared earlier than Cuyahoga County Council’s Committee of the Complete to current The MetroHealth System’s 2022 finances. I might have stopped after reviewing our strong monetary image, and a few individuals most likely want I had. However as chief of our group’s public well being system, I felt an obligation to handle a bigger risk to the well being of our residents.
That’s why I stated, “I’ve grave concerns concerning the supply, coordination, and oversight of behavioral well being and dependancy providers in Cuyahoga County.” And, “as we speak’s system of funding and oversight doesn’t promote collaboration, integration, or accountability, and doesn’t successfully meet the wants of our group.”
These statements have been meant to spark what I predicted might be “tough conversations.” We want these conversations.
However to show these remarks into a criticism of the professionals who work in behavioral well being and dependancy providers shouldn’t be solely disrespectful to them, but it surely additionally distracts from the actual concern — caring for our susceptible neighbors at their most susceptible occasions.
I problem any skilled to argue that our behavioral well being and dependancy providers system (1) receives sufficient funding, (2) is sufficiently seamless for the shoppers, (3) helps all who need assistance, or (4) has no room to enhance outcomes.
Assuming that nobody will make these arguments, let’s concentrate on the wanted fixes and redesign that consultants from the Alcohol, Drug Habit & Psychological Well being Companies (ADAMHS) Board, Middle for Group Options, Frontline Service, Higher Cleveland Congregations, Psychological Well being & Habit Coalition, The MetroHealth System, Ohio Division of Psychological Well being and Habit Companies, Restoration Sources, Stella Maris, St. Vincent Charity Medical Middle, and United Means of Higher Cleveland helped develop greater than 18 months in the past.
Our convening group checked out what’s working and what isn’t. We checked out greatest practices elsewhere and what it could take to convey them to Cuyahoga County. Most necessary, we checked out every little thing from the attitude of our neighbors, members of the family and pals who wrestle with psychological well being or dependancy points and what it takes to seek out assist in a number of the most tough circumstances any of us can think about.
The ensuing doc — The Group and Legal Justice Programming for Psychological Well being and Habit in Cuyahoga County – A Strategic Framework — “outlines a complete continuum of care, a holistic and wide-ranging resolution for a group scuffling with a psychological well being and dependancy epidemic. It addresses a person’s total journey, from prevention to intervention to therapy to restoration care. Its suggestions are rooted in well-established theories of change, evidence-based methods and inclusive options.”
The proposal identifies the applications which might be wanted and their approximate value. The group estimated that an funding between $95 million and $170 million is required over the subsequent 5 years to realize the outcomes that our group wants.
My hope is the County Council will start assembly with our convening group and others to develop long-term options.
It’s my responsibility to convey this crucial concern to the forefront, and I’m completely satisfied to face apart to let others handle it. However please know that, so long as I’m the CEO of your public well being system, I’ll proceed to unapologetically advocate for many who want our assist, no matter the criticism.
Dr. Akram Boutros is president and chief govt officer of The MetroHealth System.
Have one thing to say about this matter?
* Send a letter to the editor, which might be thought-about for print publication.
* E mail basic questions on our editorial board or feedback or corrections on this opinion column to Elizabeth Sullivan, director of opinion, at email@example.com.