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Pathways connects state with mental health services

Pathways connects state with mental health services

February 12th, 2018 by Joe Gamm in Business

Mark Wilson/News Tribune Jennifer Johnson plays with her two year old twins Kale and Alaira at Pathways Central Region Wednesday.

Pathways Community Health in Jefferson City is part of the Compass Health Network.

Pathways is a nonprofit community mental health center whose network provides a continuum of mental health care and access to services through 40 offices in Missouri and Louisiana.

In Central Missouri alone, it has sites in Columbia, Jefferson City, Fulton, Osage Beach, Linn Creek and many other communities.

Its goal is to “meet the needs of citizens in our community who have mental health needs,” Regional Vice President Karen Cade said. The organization focuses on achieving sustainable wellness for individual and communities by providing accessible mental health, alcohol and drug treatment and prevention services. It also provides residential programs for homeless people. It built Russell B. Holt Apartments in 2013-14, a $1 million, eight-unit complex. It also has Dahlia House for women.

What are Pathways’ unique mission and goals?

Pathways is a community health organization whose primary goal is to assist people in the community who have mental health needs. In 2016, it served about 4,000 clients in Cole County, 6,500 in Boone County and 2,400 in Camden County. Services reach children and adults. Two locations in Jefferson City provide outpatient therapy, substance use disorder treatment and psychiatric services for adults. A third location, the Pathways Children’s Center, at 1905 Stadium Blvd., provides outpatient therapy, psychiatric services, school and sports physicals, immunizations and well-child visits (examinations to monitor a child’s development). It started the Children’s Center a little more than a year and a half ago to focus on children’s needs. Organizers wanted a place that was comfortable for parents.

In Jefferson City, the organization does not itself provide physical and dental health, but partners with the Community Health Center for those services. For example, in the Children’s Center, which serves children 12 and younger, the pediatrician who treats children works for the Community Health Center.

What’s new with Pathways?

In 2017, it joined a project to foster development of community partnerships, deliver comprehensive health care services and implement a prospective payment system, after being chosen to participate in the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic demonstration project. The project is expected to deliver services in a cost-effective manner. This year, with help from United Way funding and a Systems of Care Community for Early Signs and Symptoms grant, therapists have been provided to Jefferson City schools to conduct early screenings for students who are in an at-risk mental state for psychosis.

How important is the organization to Jefferson City?

Health assessments conducted by the Cole County Health Department, hospitals and the United Way have identified a great need for mental health services in Central Missouri. Pathways has walk-in services at its 227 Metro Drive location, which is a “walk-in, open-access clinic.” It’s not unusual for as many as 40 people to use the walk-in services over the course of a week. All of its clinics have some walk-in access.

Where does Pathways get funding?

Pathways receives funding from a number of sources. It receives state funding. It receives federal funding through Medicaid and Medicare. It receives distributions from the United Way. Private insurance pays for some services. It receives grants and direct payments from clients. A lot of what Pathways does with money raised through events is fund charitable care. It provides services on a sliding scale based on income. In 2015, the organization provided $1.5 million in uncompensated care.

How did Pathways come about?

Pathways formed in 1974. It grew as multiple smaller organizations joined together to more efficiently serve communities. In Jefferson City, it later combined services with Family Mental Health. As it grew, community members and the state partnered to create programs to meet local concerns. It is now part of Compass Health Network, which includes – in addition to Pathways in Central Missouri – Crider Health Center serving eastern Missouri and Royal Oaks Hospital serving western Missouri.

What is the organization’s biggest fundraiser?

Spring in Jefferson City gives Pathways the chance to host one of its most popular fundraisers — Happy Feet for Healthy Minds. The event includes a 1-mile walk and a 5K run. Organizers solicit sponsors through the community for the event. Every year, Compass Health Network holds an agency-wide golf tournament at Old Kinderhook in Camdenton to help fund all its communities’ needs.

Is a contribution tax-deductible?

Pathways is a tax-exempt nonprofit organization. All contributions are tax-deductible.

How else might somebody get involved in Pathways?

People can contact our organization if they are interested in making an in-kind donation. As part of its transitional housing programs, Pathways sometimes has clients who need furniture, clothing, household items and other products. Anyone who is considering getting rid of something is encouraged to contact Pathways and ask if it might be useful.