Posted on February 3, 2021
Derby, NY…Harmonia Collaborative Care was awarded two regional grants to expand services. The BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York Blue Fund and the Garman Family Foundation have provided support for the growth of Harmonia programs in 2021.
The BlueCross BlueShield Blue Fund has recognized the need for expansion of mental health and telemental health services in rural and native communities. The closing of TLC Health Network’s Behavioral Health and Chemical dependency units in Irving, NY has devastated communities in southern Erie, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties. Patients are referred to already-overcrowded ECMC and providers north of Buffalo, creating a serious access barrier for low income and rural residents, many of whom have no transportation to services offered an hour from home. COVID-19 has exacerbated this situation hitting rural and marginalized populations hard.
Valerie Nowak, LMHC, MPA, CEO at Harmonia comments, “Through its physical and emotional devastation, COVID spurred a response to community needs, including telehealth. Harmonia intends to leverage this opportunity to reach areas most in need.”
In fulfillment of the Blue Fund grant, Harmonia Collaborative Care will assess community assets and engagement, identify partners and collaborators, and build a 3-year business plan to bring mental health/telemental health outpatient services for clients ages 13 and up. Harmonia’s objective is to reduce the number of clients needing acute care due to the escalation of their conditions while improving the quality of life for rural and Native American residents.
Megan Brautlacht, LMHC, Harmonia Director of Mental Health Clinics believes, “Increasing access to mental health counseling through a combination of in-person and telemental health services to rural and native populations can have a positive impact on the community. Our objective is to eliminate the barriers of transportation and limited technology to support good mental health.”
As seniors age, there is often an increased need to support independence while ensuring physical and mental wellbeing. The devastating impact of COVID-19 on seniors in nursing facilities has increased the urgency among family members to keep their seniors independent in their homes. Harmonia Collaborative Care has received a grant from the Garman Family Foundation administered by the Community Foundation of Greater Buffalo to expand their CarePanion program and create new opportunities for family members and friends to provide paid caregiver assistance.
Harmonia Collaborative Care’s CarePanion program directly supports the mental health and physical wellness of seniors living independently in the community. CarePanions provide non-medical, in-home services to help individuals and their Caregivers keep seniors safe in their homes. The Consumer Driven Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP) supports Caregivers providing services to their loved ones in their homes. CDPAP is a New York State Medicaid program that allows chronically ill or physically disabled consumers who need help with everyday activities or skilled nursing to hire their home care assistants.
“Supporting and caring for our seniors and their caregivers is more important now that it has ever been. We are excited to be able to expand our program and help more seniors and their caregivers keep them independent in their homes and communities,” says Cami Kent, MPA, CarePanion Coordinator.
Harmonia Collaborative Care is a non-profit mental health, senior services and Health Home agency headquartered in Derby, NY with offices in Hamburg, NY. Harmonia, formerly Community Concern of WNY, celebrates 50 Years of providing services to those in the community in 2021.