Grants bolster Sinnissippi Centers’ treatment for behavioral health in Sauk Valley

STERLING – Sinnissippi Centers will be receiving $4 million in federal funding across the next 2 years to expand care services.

The agency was awarded funds under the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s FY 2021 Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic Expansion Grant program, and Gov. JB Pritzker signed legislation earlier this month to pilot a new model for behavioral health care providers.

“For people with serious mental illness, the CCBHC model more closely integrates primary care with behavioral health,” Sinnissippi President/CEO Patrick Phelan said. “By addressing primary care needs, we are able to identify physical issues sooner and help them link to our medical providers and get treatment.”

Under that model, providers are allowed to use funding to provide care to individuals who don’t have any health care coverage.

“Sinnissippi Centers’ CCBHC project will provide enhanced services to adults, children and families with a serious mental illness, serious emotional disturbance, substance use disorder and/or those with co-occurring disorders,” Phelan said. “The project will provide enhanced and increased psychiatric services, peer support, crisis intervention, care coordination, evidence-based treatments, and intensive team-based interventions to rural communities in Northwest Illinois.”

Phelan said the legislation provides a framework to begin planning the new model, and the funding provides the vital support needed to build it.

“The signing of the state legislation and the award of federal grant funds positions Sinnissippi Centers in an ideal place to be on the cutting edge of this new model of service provision for behavioral health,” he said.

The Excellence in Mental Health Act established federal guidelines that defines the clinics. The project provides comprehensive outpatient mental health care to any individuals who need the services, regardless of income.

The services CCBHCs must provide for those with mental health and addiction needs include access to emergency care 24/7, instant risk assessment and screening, treatment planning, case management, family and peer support, specialized care for veterans and active-duty military, and prompt, easy access to care.

As part of the project, Sinnissippi will be hiring several more positions in order to support this model, including several nursing positions.

Jennifer Thomason, senior director of outpatient services, has been named the project manager. Thomason joined Sinnissippi Centers in 2007 and has served as a clinician, manager of residential services, and director of adult services.

Sinnissippi Centers is a community-based behavioral healthcare center that has provided care to residents of Carroll, Lee, Ogle and Whiteside Counties since 1966.

Rachel Rodgers

Rachel Rodgers joined Sauk Valley Media in 2016 covering local government in Dixon and Lee County.