NC Governor Roy Cooper Appoints RHA’s Jerry Wease to Commission

RUTHERFORD COUNTY, N.C. — Congratulations to Jerry Wease on his appointment by Governor Roy Cooper to the N.C. Commission for Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services. Jerry has been with the RHA ACT Team in Rutherford County for 4 years.  Two years ago he was promoted to Team Leader and has done an excellent job leading his staff in the service of the people they support.

Wease is a NAMI member and has earned certification as a LPC, LCAS, CSI, and NCC. After graduating at the top of his class from Gardner-Webb University with his MA/Ed.S in Mental Health Counseling, Jerry has provided clinical services and advocacy in many roles across the state from enhanced treatment services, clinical supervision, community advocacy, and teaching at the university level.

Jerry has worked with adolescents and adults with mental health and substance use disorders and primarily endorses a cognitive behavioral approach. Jerry believes that recovery is possible for individuals, families, and communities.

In his spare time Jerry enjoys volunteering, singing, animals, and sitting on the porch with a good book and a cup of coffee.

Thanks for your service not only to our community, but also to our state.

RHA is a Community Sponsor of the Blue Ridge Recovery Rally

RHA Health Services is proud to be a community sponsor of the second annual Blue Ridge Recovery Rally. The event is Saturday May 19th in Downtown Marion NC from 5 to 9pm.   All are welcome to this free family friendly atmosphere.  Activities include a walk and a 5K run, music and art, and guest speakers and recovery stories.

Communities across the country are struggling with addiction to substances such as alcohol, cocaine, heroin, and opioids.  The Blue Ridge Recovery Rally will celebrate, educate, and initiate positive change as we work together to build healthier communities.  Our goal at RHA Health Services is to help each person we support to understand their addictive disease and to establish a commitment to recovery.

Other community partners for the Blue Ridge Recovery Rally include, Vaya Health, the McDowell Chamber of Commerce, the City of Marion PD, A Caring Alternatives, The McDowell County Sheriffs Department, Freedom Life, Celebrate Recovery, Mission Hospital, and US Cellular.

For more information about the rally call 828-559-2224 or email info@freedomlifeministries.org.

RHA‘s Julie Huneycutt appointed to Senate Opioid Council

Sen. Chuck Edwards (R-Henderson) announced the N.C. Senate appointment of Julie Huneycutt, a Hendersonville resident, to the state’s Task Force on Sentencing Reforms for Opioid Drug Convictions.

Huneycutt will work with the attorney general, secretary of Health and Human Services, secretary of Public Safety, chief deputy secretary of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice, director of the Administrative Office of the Courts, and executive director of the N.C. Sentencing and Advisory Commission to study the modification of current statute and how to recognize those convicted of opiate related crimes who would be able to successfully reintegrate into society.

“It is no surprise to those who know the work she has done in our community that Julie was selected to serve on this task force,” Edwards said. “The opioid drug epidemic effects everyone and every area of our state. Julie has been fighting for education and prevention for years. Her appointment to this task force strengthens the voice of our district in Raleigh and ensures that those best qualified are fighting to understand this epidemic.

“Julie will no doubt be very influential in this role, and each member of this task force will see her passion for this subject. I am grateful that Julie is willing to serve our area in such an important capacity to help make a difference and I was delighted to able to recommend her for this position.”

Huneycutt has been advocating against opioid and prescription drug abuse for many years. She attended N.C. State University, earning her Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Reading Education. She also attended classes at Duke University, receiving her Prevention Coordinator Certification.

In 2014, Huneycutt became the director of HopeRx, Henderson County’s coalition to address prescription drug abuse and prevention. She also co-founded Anna’s Hope, an organization dedicated to raising awareness of prescription drug abuse.
She is an appointee to the Juvenile Crime Prevention Council and speaks regionally on issues surrounding prescription drug abuse. The Task Force on Sentencing Reform for Opioid Drug Convictions was created this year in House Bill 464. This task force will utilize those with extensive backgrounds and experience dealing with the opioid epidemic to better understand addicts and those convicted of related crimes.

Julie Huneycutt who has been with RHA since 2015 says, “We are confident that our footprint of prevention in Henderson County is contributing to awareness about this epidemic and is creating a platform to reduce the misuse of prescription, over the counter, and other illicit drugs through diversion and safe medication events, as well as public forums, and education in our schools. Our coalition continues to build a very strong partnership and is in full collaboration with local law enforcement, City and County Government, the Department of Public Health, City and County Schools, both area Hospitals, non-profit community clinics, EMS and Fire Departments as well as faith-based organizations, those with lived experience and community members.”

visit us online at www.hope-rx.org or on our Facebook page, HopeRx, Henderson County.

Lindsay Carver Stockman of RHA Honored as Advocate of the Year by CADCA

Lindsay Carver Stockman, CSAPC has been chosen to receive an Advocate of the Year award during Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America’s (CADCA) 28th Annual National Leadership Forum.

The CADCA honors leaders who have consistently gone above and beyond the call of duty to ensure legislative victories for the substance abuse prevention field. Lindsay is employed by RHA Prevention Resource Center as The Buncombe County Substance Abuse Prevention Coordinator and Coordinator for The Partnership for Substance Free Youth in Buncombe County. She is a great asset to the RHA Health Services family and we are very proud of her many accomplishments.

The award will be presented on Thursday, February 8, 2018 during the
National Leadership Awards Luncheon at the Gaylord National Hotel in
National Harbor, MD. CADCA Public Policy Associate, Nikki Semenza, says
“We cannot express how thankful we are for your help to garner support
for all of the areas of interest to CADCA and the substance abuse
prevention field. You are always willing to go the extra mile and your
efforts have made a tremendous impact on our field.”

Lindsay attended The University of North Carolina-Asheville and graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Health and Wellness Promotion and from the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) Academy in 2012. She was awarded one of the Top 40 Under 40 Young Professionals in Asheville in 2012. Lindsay was elected to the North Carolina Prevention Providers Association in 2013, which is a state board that acts as a liaison between Prevention Providers and the NC State Prevention Department. In 2014 she was elected to the Executive Committee and continues to serve as a Western Region Representative for Prevention in 2014

Lindsay is married to husband Michael and lives in Hickory NC with their dog Bailey.

For more information about CADCA, visit www.cadca.org

RHA SAIOP Team Holds National Recovery Month Event

On Monday, September 11, 2017, the Burlington RHA SAIOP team held an event to simultaneously recognize September as National Recovery Month and the successful completion by three individuals of the SAIOP program. Every September SAMHSA sponsors Recovery Month to increase awareness and understanding of mental and substance use disorders and celebrate the people who recover. As reported on the SAMHSA website; “Recovery Month promotes the societal benefits of prevention, treatment, and recovery for mental and substance use disorders, celebrates people in recovery, lauds the contributions of treatment and service providers, and promotes the message that recovery in all its forms is possible. Recovery Month spreads the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, prevention works, treatment is effective and people can and do recover.” Cole Shaughnessy, CSAC, CPSS, SAIOP facilitator, and Nancy Baraks, LCSW, LCAS, SAIOP team lead hosted the event inviting SAIOP alumni, Alcoholics Anonymous representative Jeff Palmer, and RHA service provider representatives to speak. RHA providers Vanessa Tribble, LCSW, Peer Support and Beverly Jones, LPC, LCASA, outpatient therapist, were asked to provide information on step-down service lines such as Peer Support Services and Substance Use group. Harvey Bryant, CSACA, Peer Support Specialist provided a personal message of support and encouragement to those on their recovery journey. Jeff Palmer shared his recovery story and information on the 12 step program as a continued support in the recovery community. The honored graduates from SAIOP are (pictured left to right) Elizabeth Valines, Cole Shaughnessy, CSAC, CPSS, Cheryl Harrell, and Rachel Smith. We encourage all to recognize and support those who continue their recovery journey and those who support and serve these individuals during this month.

The Opioid Crisis: One community fights back.

The opioid epidemic facing our country, state, and local neighborhoods is proving to be an extraordinary opponent, but the community stakeholders in New Hanover County and the City of Wilmington are rising to the call and fighting back.

RHA has had the opportunity over the past several months to participate in a multitude of initiatives to combat this health crisis and we are honored to work alongside a host of others dedicated to serving. Projects such as the LEAD project, the Quick Response Team pilot, medication drop off sites, and community forums are designed to make a difference in the lives of those affected by opiate misuse.

Whether it is first responders, city or county officials, educators, or behavioral health providers, everyone comes to the table as an equal partner possessing knowledge, expertise, and compassion with a common goal of making a difference.

Leaders in this effort include professionals and citizens who have looked past artificial boundaries and are banding together around several strategies aimed at creating a healthier, more informed community. SEAHEC is leading the charge with increasing awareness and educating the public through pulling people from all layers of community groups.

This story is all about the team work we have experienced and the solutions we have produced as a group. I personally have been humbled by everyone’s willingness to come to the table asking the question “How can I help? How can I serve?”  -Kathy Smith, Ph.D. Chief Operating Officer, RHA Health Services, Behavioral Health

Opioid Task Force
L-R Front Travis Robinson, Molly Daughtry, Deb Vuocolo, Kathy Smith, Olivia Herdon, Tony McEwen; Back Kenny House, Antonio Roper, Mitch Cunningham (Robert Childs not pictured)

Read the entire article

DHHS awards grant to Vaya Health for pilot program with RHA and Mission Health in Asheville

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WLOS) — A $2.3 million grant from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services to Vaya Health will help ensure people with mental health or addiction disorders receive proper outpatient care and avoid repeated trips to the hospital.

DHHS awarded grant funds to Vaya Health, a managed healthcare organization serving Western North Carolina, to fund the pilot program in conjunction with Mission Health and RHA Health Services. The initiative will provide comprehensive case management for people utilizing Mission’s emergency department for behavioral health needs, as well as women who are pregnant and using drugs or alcohol, and link them to community services and supports.

“Too often, people don’t connect with routine outpatient care that can prevent a behavioral health issue from becoming a crisis,” said RHA CEO Gordon J. Simmons. “In addition to RHA programs in neighboring counties, C3356 offers 24-hour behavioral health urgent care, counseling, medication management, substance use treatment and peer support services. These programs promote personal recovery and help prevent future crises.”

Nearly 600 people seek care for behavioral health needs at Mission’s ED every month. Some individuals needing psychiatric inpatient treatment wait at the ED for more than three days before a bed becomes available. Repeated visits are also becoming more problematic, with 230 individuals making a total of 770 visits during six months in 2016.

“We hope that over time we’ll reduce the use of the emergency department for those visits that are not necessary that can be addressed at a different level of care,” Vaya Health CEO Brian Ingraham said.

The program is expected to begin in July.

Vaya Health original News release_WNC initiative to promote mental health, reduce ED use

Drug Take Back Scheduled Saturday April 29th from 10am to 2pm in Asheville NC

The Partnership for Substance Free Youth of Buncombe County and RHA Prevention Resource Centers are sponsoring a Drug Take Back event on Saturday April 29th from 10am to 2pm at various locations in Asheville, NC. You can turn in your unused or expired medications for safe disposal. Did you know that most abused prescription drugs come from family and friends? You could be a drug dealer and not even know it! Read the Got Drugs? Take Back Flyer or download below for detailed instructions and join us on April 29th at our event.

Click here for a downloadable PDF of the Got Drugs? Take Back flyer 

The following locations will be participating:

Walgreens 1124 Patton Ave, Asheville
Walgreens 1835 Hendersonville Road, Asheville
Walgreens 91 S. Tunnel Road, Asheville
Walgreens 841 Merrimon Avenue, Asheville
Walgreens 578 New Leicester Highway, Asheville
SONA 805 Fairview Rd, Asheville

 The Partnership for Substance Free Youth in Buncombe County is a coalition of K-12 schools, private businesses, non-profit organizations and government agencies in Buncombe County and the greater Asheville area that is committed to keeping children away from alcohol and drugs.

RHA Prevention Resource Centers, formally known as Addiction Recovery and Prevention (ARP), has a long-standing tradition and expertise in providing drug use prevention services for youth, families, and communities across Western North Carolina (WNC). We believe decreasing risk and building protective factors in our youth and families is an integral part of tackling addiction.

For more information:

Phone: 828-348-2641
Email: Prevention@rhanet.org
RHA Prevention Resource Centers
84 Coxe Avenue, Ste 1-C Asheville, NC 28801

24-Hour Access and Crisis Telephone Contacts
828-586-5501 or 1-800-849-6127
Mobile Crisis Management
1-800-573-1006
Youth Suicide Hotline
1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)
or 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)

 

Caldwell C3 Comprehensive Care Center Ribbon Cutting

Gordon J. Simmons, RHA CEO, presided over the official ribbon-cutting and thanked partner organizations.

February 21, 2016 – Local officials, law enforcement, healthcare providers and mental health advocates came together Tuesday to celebrate the grand opening of an expanded behavioral health treatment and crisis center in Lenoir.

The Caldwell C3 Comprehensive Care Center will primarily serve residents of Caldwell, McDowell and Alexander counties. In addition to existing mental health, substance use and developmental disability outpatient programs, the center now includes a 12-bed crisis stabilization unit for adults, with stays projected to last from five to seven days. New staff members are currently in training, with admissions set to begin in March.

The crisis stabilization unit is designed to offer quality treatment that is closer to home than most inpatient psychiatric facilities, reduce strain on local hospitals and save time for law enforcement officers who transport residents for treatment. Once discharged from the crisis unit, individuals can utilize the center’s outpatient services, such as medication management or counseling, to help achieve and sustain long-term recovery.

The community partners behind Caldwell C3 held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday in the new unit’s day room. “Caldwell C3 is a testament to the tenacity and commitment of the community partners in this area,” said Brian Ingraham, CEO of lead project partner Vaya Health. “This full array of community-based services will dramatically improve the landscape of behavioral healthcare in these counties.”

Caldwell C3 is designed to offer support, hope and real options for recovery. Funding and other support was provided by the N.C. Housing Finance Agency (NCHFA), Foothills Services, Inc., and Vaya. Key partners include Caldwell County and RHA Health Services, Inc., which operates the facility, as well as local hospitals and law enforcement agencies.

Special guest Jason Vogler, interim senior director of the N.C. Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services, called Caldwell C3 “an excellent example” of community-based treatment envisioned by the state’s Crisis Solutions Initiative. “It really makes me happy to know we have something here in Lenoir to serve the local community,” Vogler said.

“The Caldwell crisis facility provides a safe and comfortable environment for individuals who are experiencing a mental illness or substance abuse crisis,” said Scott Farmer, NCHFA executive director. “This facility is a great example of the type of housing financed by the state’s Housing Trust Fund.”

Also praising the center were Mike La Brose, vice chairman of the Caldwell County Board of Commissioners; Rick French, Vaya’s board chairman who also serves as Alexander County manager and as a Foothills Services board member;  Rebecca T. Smith, vice president at Caldwell UNC Healthcare; and Carol Wolfenbarger, president of McDowell Hospital. State Sen. Ralph Hise and state Rep. Josh Dobson were unable to attend Tuesday’s ceremony but sent public letters of support.

Hise called the center a “landmark addition to the continuum of behavioral healthcare” in the three-county area. “One of our greatest responsibilities is to ensure access to prevention, early intervention, crisis response and ongoing behavioral healthcare,” Hise said. “It is especially rewarding to see a program of this scope come to fruition in our western counties.”

“This new center provides real hope for recovery,” Dobson said. “The expansion of the Caldwell Comprehensive Care Center fills a long standing gap in Caldwell and surrounding counties and will make a positive difference affecting individuals and their families for decades to come.”

Gordon J. Simmons, RHA CEO, presided over the official ribbon-cutting and thanked partner organizations.

Vaya’s support of Caldwell C3 is part of the organization’s ongoing Community and Capital Reinvestment Plan, which utilizes cost-savings from effective Medicaid management to enhance treatment options throughout western North Carolina. The center is located at 2415 Morganton Boulevard SW in Lenoir.

 About Vaya Health Vaya Health manages public funds for mental health, substance use disorder and intellectual or developmental disability services in 23 North Carolina counties: Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Buncombe, Caldwell, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania, Watauga, Wilkes and Yancey. Access to services and crisis help are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-849-6127. Learn more at www.vayahealth.com.

Media Contact:
Rachel Leonard-Spencer
Marketing and Communications Director
Rachel.leonard-spencer@vayahealth.com
828-225-2785

 

RHA Continues Leadership Momentum with New CCO Danny F. Fulmer, II takes over as Chief Ethics, Compliance and Privacy Officer as 30 year RHA veteran, John S. White retires

Asheville, NC – February 13, 2017 – RHA Health Services, a leader in supports for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental health, and substance use challenges, is pleased to announce the addition of Danny F. Fulmer, II as the new Chief Ethics, Compliance and Privacy Officer (CCO). He succeeds 30 year RHA veteran, John S. White, who is retiring.  In his new position Mr. Fulmer will oversee the activities of the Ethics and Compliance, Privacy, Continuous Quality Improvements (CQI) and Safety departments.

The Georgia native graduated from the University of Georgia in 1994. He received his Executive MBA at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School in 2005, and his Juris Doctorate at Campbell University in 2008.  After law school he worked in Raleigh for five years litigating insurance defense and workers compensation cases with Cranfill, Sumner, and Hartzog, LLC.  Fulmer moved to Asheville in 2013 where he concentrated on medical malpractice defense and business litigation at Northup McConnell & Sizemore, PLLC. Fulmer most recently served Vaya Health (formerly Smoky Mountain LME/MCO) as the Ancillary Provider Network Manager.

RHA Health Services CEO,Gordon J. Simmons, says “Danny Fulmer will be taking over as Chief Ethics, Compliance, and Privacy Officer on March 27th 2017.  He comes to RHA with a wealth of knowledge and a diverse professional background, including his work as an attorney and most recently, as the Provider Relations Manager with Vaya Health.  Our Executive Team has the utmost confidence in Danny and firmly believes our Ethics, Compliance, and Privacy department will be in great hands for years to come.”

As Fulmer settles in at RHA, he reflects, “As our organization faces issues such as increased investigations, ever-changing privacy and security concerns caused by the evolution of technology, and the looming start date for Stage 3 Meaningful Use requirements by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (January 2018), it is more important than ever to realize that compliance has to be everyone’s concern.  The continued success of RHA will depend on our ability to collaborate effectively across all departments and continue to keep compliance and improvement at the forefront of all we do.

It is my vision that the compliance department will continue to focus our energy on the most effective ways to positively impact our company culture and to constantly evaluate whether our compliance program is working.  If we are able to obtain these objectives, it will certainly be because we stand on the shoulders of giants like John White.”

RHA Health Services provides a broad range of person-centered, integrated, and high-quality supports and services focused on children and adults living with intellectual & developmental disabilities and behavioral health and substance use challenges.  RHA has over 5,000 employees in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia. For more information regarding RHA Health Services, visit www.rhahealthservices.org.

Media Contact:
Debbie Valentine
RHA Health Services
Marketing and Communications
dvalentine@rhanet.org
919-803-2960 x 227

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