Archive for Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Bert Nash, Heartland Community Health reveal more details about project that would create new health campus

December 19, 2012


When Obamacare arrives in full force in 2014, it may bring with it a new $6 million to $8 million primary care clinic and mental health facility in central Lawrence.

The top executive at the Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center confirmed the organization is working toward a capital campaign that would fund a new outpatient health care campus on the old Veterans of Foreign Wars post near Second and Alabama streets.

The new center, which would be on a 13-acre site just a block away from Lawrence Memorial Hospital, would be designed to serve the thousands of people who are expected to have health insurance under federal health care reform. If state officials decided to expand Medicaid as federal health reform encourages, it is estimated an additional 11,000 Douglas County residents will have health insurance.

“Thousands of people who don’t have coverage will now have it, and we have to be prepared to serve them,” said David Johnson, chief executive officer at Bert Nash. “If we do nothing, a big impact will be on the hospital’s emergency room."

At the center of the plan is a partnership between Bert Nash and the Heartland Community Health Center, which serves low-income patients in space in the former Riverfront Mall in downtown Lawrence.

The partnership would focus on providing primary care services — all the services you would find at a traditional doctor’s office — with mental health care.

Primary care physicians and mental health care providers would be in the same building and would be available to work together to treat patients.

“The statistics show that about 75 percent of all issues that show up for treatment in a primary care practice have some basis in behavioral care,” said Jon Stewart, chief executive of Heartland. “We feel like we do need to look at the idea of practicing health care in a different way.”

The proposed project also includes a partnerships with Outside for a Better Inside, a group led by Lawrence businessman John McGrew that promotes getting children and others out in nature.

McGrew is proposing to build a walking trail and observation area around a large pond. In the past, there also has been talk of a wellness center and a “Miracle Field,” which is a baseball field specially designed for individuals with disabilities. McGrew said the efforts will tie in well with the health clinic’s mission because the trails and nature facilities can help prevent illness.

“The statistics about the amount of time kids spend outside are really disheartening,” McGrew said. “A computer is a great tool, but it shouldn’t be a lifestyle.”

Johnson said ideally he would like to break ground on the project, including the clinic, in 2014. But he said the organization will have to come up with a fundraising plan. He expects the project to attract grant money, but he said Bert Nash also is contemplating a fundraising campaign. Preliminary concept plans have estimated the price tag at $6 million to $8 million, although that is likely to change as plans become more refined.

Bert Nash signed a deal to buy the property last year from the VFW, which is building a new post off of Haskell Avenue, for $825,000. When Bert Nash filed plans to rezone the property, it submitted a concept plan that included a 30,000 square-foot building, plus a small wellness center, the trails and the Miracle Field. But Johnson said that plan largely was an exercise in seeing what could fit on the property, and more detailed plans will be developed. He also said Bert Nash expects to have discussion with the Lawrence Public School District about buying the approximately one-acre site that is adjacent to the VFW property. Currently, the school district uses the property for its facilities maintenance department.

Johnson, McGrew and Stewart provided a briefing on the project to the Lawrence Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees on Wednesday morning. LMH board members said they were interested in learning more about the project. Johnson said he expected to do planning for the new facility in cooperation with the hospital.


Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 6 months ago

Are these the type of people we want to attract to our city? Those who maybe can't work and only become a leech on the already stressed tax base? You think our taxes are high now, just wait till the funding is requested to support this facility and its subordinate organizations.

I know we need to have mental health available, but does the taxpayer want to advertise for the services?

I expect all kinds of take your best shots. Just remember, Burt Nash used its own money to purchase this property. It's taxpayer supported funding is still in place. Get ready to bend over for the additional funding they are going to request to feed this beast. On another note, our wonderful new shelter is due anytime to ask for its additional funding. The schools have already said they want 92.5 million. This is before the city and the county request theirs.

Grow the beast.

Keith 5 years, 6 months ago

It's too late, you're already here.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 6 months ago

I too, am around people who have substance abuse issues. Many are just looking for attention. By giving them attention you feed their miserable lives. By not giving them attention, letting them hit bottom, then and only then will they change. As long as they can play woe is me, they will continue to get the taxpayer to pay their bills. The largest problem is with the system where we tag people as early as grade school as having some mental illness, talk them into believing they have it, and assisting them live their lives with it. They then figure out that they don't have to do anything but stay the course and we who actually pay taxes fund their cradle to grave existance. If you want to be so compassionant, then you do it with your own money and quit voting to spend mine on it.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 6 months ago

Isn't it great when you know what the book says, but know nothing about real life. I doubt you would survive in the corporate world.

Kendall Simmons 5 years, 6 months ago

What on earth are you talking about? And what does 'the corporate world" have to do with any of this? Surely you don't think the corporate world has all the answers? (Or that there are no addicts or drug users in the corporate world...yeah, right :-)

Quite frankly, I read the exchanges between you and markoo and was appalled at your obvious and utter cluelessness about addiction. "They just want attention"...what utter baloney. As markoo points out, you're just "perpetuating stigmas that are absolutely ignorant and ridiculous"...and do NOT help make the problem better but, rather, make it worse.

Of course there are "takers" among addicts. There are in the corporate world, too. But most people do not fit your stereotypes.

Plus, when it comes to a dual diagnosis of mental illness and addiction, it's usually a result of people trying to self-medicate their mental illness. And, with the mental health system in this country currently an utter disaster and getting worse, no one should be surprised by this. No matter what Big Pharma says, more pills is not the cure.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 6 months ago

Throwing money at a broke system is not the answer either. Look at what the current system produces. There is no way to fix it by throwing more money at it. I am so glad you and yours choose to stay the course, especially when a blind man could see it is broken.

These places like Burt Nash, although have some successes, prey on people they label with some kind of illness, real on not, so they can get paid. The more customers they retain, the more they get paid. There is nothing built into the system to remove people from the system after they are identified with something they can get paid for. They just keep getting bigger, consuming more tax dollars, while all the time boasting that they are helping humanity. Places of business that consume tax dollars, for what ever reason are interested firstly in their survival. They spend huge amounts of money on facilities and salaries, and usually there is not much left for the mission. This expansion, like the expansion of the new shelter and library, are huge money grabs for what little tax dollars there are left to be allocated or taken from the residents of Lawrence.

I know many who use the resources of Burt Nash. Most of these people, for what ever reason, have no friends, and the only ones that will talk to them and give them stuff are the agencies. The agencies, in turn, get and keep them in the system for the agencies survival which, in turn, justifies more tax payer funding. Until this is fixed I will continue to maintain my position.

Frankly my friend, you are the one that is clueless. I take it personally when people vote to steal money from my family and give it to the many able bodied people who are milking the system. Fix this too, and I would be more for it.

hotel69 5 years, 6 months ago

Build the facility in East Hills Business Park along with the new shelter. Someday government handouts will end and people will be allowed to hit rock bottom.

cowboy 5 years, 6 months ago

Quite a collection of ignorance in the above posts.

This is interesting on a few fronts. Bert Nash and Heartland entering the for profit care industry. These new clients will be insured on Medicaid , Medicare , and private insurance from the exchanges. Their charges will be paid by their insurance carrier.

Will the local private practices limit access to Medicare / Medicaid clients ? Or is Bert Nash / Heartland now competing with local private practices ?

For the ones above the poor will still get free care , as they do now , the disadvantaged will be able to buy subsidized care instead of just showing up in the ER. The pre existing folks will be able to buy insurance from the exchanges.

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