Hamilton Center Develops Assertive Community Treatment Program - June 2002

State budget cuts and changes in funding have caused Hamilton Center to take steps toward aligning its service delivery with spending reductions taken by the Division of Mental Health and Addiction (DMHA).

A primary way that HCI will do that is through the development of a program called Assertive Community Treatment (ACT). This community-based treatment model will be led by Angie Lee, MSW, and Stephanie Borders, MSW.

The concept behind this program is in line with Hamilton Center's mission of improving quality of life for clients by utilizing a team of case managers, registered nurses, and therapists who will be available to clients twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. The team will also provide addiction treatment and employment services.

According to Sarah Lewis, program manager for CSS outpatient services, the philosophy behind this program is "doing whatever it takes to keep clients healthy, out of the hospital and in the community." Eighty percent of services will take place in the community as opposed to HCI facilities.

During the next year the CSS ACT Team will be part of a national research project sponsored by the DMHA and led by Dartmouth College. We will also receive a grant for our participation in the project.

The first ACT model began in Wisconsin. Several states have used this model successfully for the last 10 years, and it is the model of choice of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. CSS has been using a modified ACT model for several years.

Lewis stressed that the ACT model is a natural extension of the wraparound philosophy that HCI already follows. It takes that philosophy one step further by providing more intensive wraparound services and making them available 24/7

The program will begin July 1 with 50 clients, and is expected to expand to around 100 clients. Hamilton Center is one of eight new ACT sites approved in Indiana, for a total of 11 sites statewide.

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