The University of Alabama School of Social Work has partnered with the Alabama Department of Mental Health to work on an $8 million project to expand a substance abuse and mental health programs to underprivileged areas of Alabama.
The program is known as AL-SBIRT and will run for a span of five years. It is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that has worked to implement similar programs in other states across the country.
This program is set to include drug and alcohol screenings, interventions, and will implement referral to treatment into primary care facilities to help further address the issue of substance abuse prevention.
“Having behavioral health care integrated within primary care settings will benefit thousands of Alabamians and also bolster our behavioral health workforce, which is one of the fastest growing work forces in the country.” said Dr. David L. Albright, associate professor of social work and principal investigator of the project.
While thousands of citizens in Alabama will benefit from this new program, millions have already benefited from Obamacare.
A new report by The Commonwealth Fund has revealed that health care improved in a vast majority of the U.S. between 2011 and 2014, largely due to the fact that more people were insured, and doctors and other providers performed increasingly well.
The report investigated health care in more than 300 local communities during the period when the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was being established. Many policies were not fully implemented until 2014, but the results of the 2011 – 2014 period still speak volumes.
“Many communities are showing signs of getting healthier, and that is encouraging,” said Dr. David Blumenthal, president of the Commonwealth Fund.
Affluent communities tended to perform better than poorer communities, but regardless, the ACA means that the 31% of adults with tooth decay or other health concerns can now receive proper treatment.
The University of Alabama’s program, while not run on a nationwide scale, is going to help even more people receive the treatment they need.
“This treatment program has been highly effective in connecting those who need help with substance abuse to treatment strategies to meet their needs. This program saves lives, saves money and can reduce the significant burden our drug problem places on families, health care and the criminal justice systems.” said James Perdue, ADMH commissioner.