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Pawnee expanding services in rural counties

The Manhattan Mercury - 12/24/2019

Dec. 23--Pawnee Mental Health is using a new grant issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to expand services in three rural counties it serves.

Robbin Cole, director of Pawnee Mental Health Services, reported Monday to the Riley County Commission that Pawnee will use its award of more than $495,000 toward expanding telemedicine and televideo services in Jewell, Mitchell and Washington counties.

The centers in those counties are only open one day a week, so those services will allow additional access to help through digital means.

"It's great news," Cole said. "Anytime we can bring federal dollars to help us improve the services we have locally, that's a good day."

Pawnee Mental Health Services, based in Manhattan, serves 10 counties, including Riley, Pottawatomie, Geary, Jewell, Mitchell, Republic, Cloud, Washington, Marshall and Clay.

The USDA awarded $42.5 million for 133 distance learning and telemedicine projects across the country, Cole reported to the commission.

Cole also gave an update about Pawnee's new crisis stabilization center, which officially opened Nov. 4. Between Nov. 4 and Nov. 30, Pawnee saw 62 patients.

"We were busier then I expected," Cole said.

Of those 62 people, 68% were Riley County residents, Cole reported. Twenty-three Riley County women and 19 Riley County men visited during that time period.

"That was not surprising," Cole said about Riley County representing the majority of the patients.

Eight Pottawatomie County residents used the center while five Geary County residents visited, Cole said.

Of the 62 patients officials saw, 29 were admitted for stabilization services while 33 were admitted for intervention services, Cole said. Marshall and Washington counties each had one person. Four people that Pawnee served in November lived outside of Pawnee's 10-county service area.

"We're very delighted by the numbers," Cole said.


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