Buncombe County Health Center (BCHC) will expand its mental health treatment program through the RWJF Caring for Kids initiative. BCHC sponsors three school-based health centers, established in 1994, 1997 and 2000 respectively. These centers, which serve all students, are intended to assist a maximum number of students who are uninsured or face other barriers to securing health care.
The funded project is collaboration involving the local public health department (BCHC), the area mental health authority (Blue Ridge Center) and the university (UNC-Asheville). Grant funding will be used to expand treatment capacity by licensed clinical social workers (LCSW) that are credentialed to bill Medicaid, Health Choice and the State Employees Health Plan in NC. All sites will provide early intervention services and accept referrals from Student Assistant Teams, Communities in Schools and Alternative to Suspensions programs targeting at-risk students. The Buncombe County Health Center Social Work Division will provide clinical supervision. The program will also include a MSW internship program through the University of North Carolina at Asheville. The program will emphasize the development of a strong link between BCHC and the UNC School of Social Work and construction of a solid billing system that fully maximizes third-party reimbursement for patient care.