Compass Health recently received more than $1.24 million in philanthropic donations and federal, state, and local grants to support the organization’s behavioral health outreach related to COVID-19. The funding will support a range of vital mental health and substance use treatment services.
Compass Health has been on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. As many communities are beginning to loosen restrictions on commerce and travel, the organization is preparing for the long-term impact the pandemic poses to mental and physical health.
“We are doing everything in our power to be ready for what we, and our colleagues across the public health community, recognize as a coming wave of behavioral health issues,” Tom Sebastian, president and CEO of Compass Health, said in a release. “While the challenges of 2020 affect everyone in some way, we anticipate there will be even greater need and growing ranks among those we serve — low-income and homeless adults and youth who qualify for Medicaid benefits provided through Washington’s Apple Health.”
The funds will enable Compass Health to secure laptops, tablets, smartphones, and network upgrades for client access to telehealth services and equip mobile crisis outreach teams with technology. The funds will also offer psychological first aid training for community members, purchase personal protective equipment (PPE), supply housing, food and groceries for individuals in need, and install touchless faucets, hand dryers, and other facility upgrades to help prevent the spread of the virus.
“Considering the economic, health and equity challenges our region faces, our community partnerships and dedicated collective response are more critical than ever to ensure we keep pace with needs,” Mary Jane Brell-Vujovic, Snohomish County’s human services director, said in a release. “Compass Health has proven its ability to mobilize and ensure access to vital services, and we are thankful to have a partner with its depth of experience, scalability, and innovation.”
Throughout March 2020, client participation in outpatient treatment and other services decreased 20 percent week-over-week as people adhered to the state’s stay home order. In response, the organization dramatically expanded deployment of its innovative mobile telehealth system, Compass Health Bridge, training more than 500 behavioral health professionals to deliver care remotely, and enabling many clients to communicate via their own devices.
“We see Bridge as an increasingly important tool that allows us to expand access to treatment for underserved communities, including communities of color and the growing numbers of individuals that are expected to qualify for Medicaid,” Sebastian said in a release. “The funding we’ve received will allow us to continue to make meaningful change across the five counties we serve, meaning we can reach people in rural communities, or people who might seek our services for the first time.”
The organization’s frontline strategy also includes its MCOT crisis outreach teams and triage centers that help people experiencing behavioral health crises or pre-crisis symptoms and refer them to services.
“As champions of whole-person health, we know that we are in the position to have an impact on how our community will navigate COVID-19,” Sebastian said in a release. “I want to express my heartfelt appreciation for all the community and state partners who have enabled us to realize this vision and given us the means to support the well-being of those that we serve.”