Mentally ill in personal-care homes, or at risk of going there, will have increased access to behavioral health care in Kentucky

The state Cabinet for Health and Family Services is extending an agreement that provides housing assistance and services to people with serious mental illness has been extended through Septemnber 2018, and is expanding it to provide increased access, according to a state news release

The agreement is with Kentucky Protection and Advocacy, an independent state agency that advocates for the rights of persons with disabilities. Its services are available to those with serious mental illness who reside, or are at risk of residing, in a personal-care home. Such facilities are long-term care facilities that provide care for persons who do not require hospital or nursing-home care, but who do require care beyond solely room and board.

The initial agreement only allowed the 14 regional community mental health centers to provide these services to individuals in their regions, but now they can serve individuals outside their service area. In addition, other behavioral health providers will now be able to provide services to these individuals.

The extended agreement also says that a regulation must be put into place that requires the use of these services to be a routine part of the Department for Behavioral Health, Development and Intellectual Disabilities protocols for those who reside in personal-care homes.

Services provided under the agreement include basic physical and behavioral health and health-related services, personal care services, residential care services, supported employment, case management, peer support services and social and recreational activities.

The extended agreement is expected to help avoid litigation under the Americans with Disabilities Act, which requires providing services to persons with disabilities in the most integrated setting.

It is estimated there are some 2,300 Kentuckians, most with serious mental illness, receiving the state supplement and residing in personal-care homes, according to the release.

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