STEUBENVILLE-The Jefferson County Educational Service Center has been named as one of 20 regional providers under a new initiative for children with severe behavioral needs and will require plenty of help to support the effort.
JCESC has received grant funding through OhioRISE (Resilience through Integrated Systems and Excellence) and will serve as one of the community-oriented Care Management Entities (CMEs) statewide. Each CME will receive between $900,000 and $1.2 million for start-up costs to build local systems of care for youth and the ESC’s program will benefit some 2,300 children in eight counties including Jefferson, Harrison, Belmont, Monroe, Carroll, Columbiana, Tuscarawas and Stark.
JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko said the program gained $1,110,000 to establish local supports, which could add up to 150 jobs, and spots must be filled before the system goes live this July 1.
“Over the past several years, the JCESC board’s vision has been to expand our outreach and services beyond grades K-12 and help address some of the issues that schools were facing prior to children entering school and upon graduation,” he added. “We began to see an increasing number of challenges in areas of mental health, substance abuse and developmental disabilities among our students. These issues impacted the education in our schools and the lives of our students and families. We started getting involved in the Family and Children First Council and Help Me Grow, Early Intervention and ENGAGE, and the knowledge and experience has helped us prepare for becoming a case management entity.”
In addition, he said the JCESC’s experience at growing other programs such as alternative schools, the Virtual Learning Academy (VLA) and Jefferson Health Plan demonstrated a capacity to successfully implement an initiative of this scale. Officials then learned about OhioRISE and soon became involved. When Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced last April that Aetna Better Health of Ohio would oversee the OhioRISE program, Dr. Kokiko said it created access to knowledge and resources the service had to offer and would enable the regional CMEs to maintain local services for local children and families.
“The $1.1 million grant will fund the initial startup and this would be a bill-back program through Medicaid. The startup will allow us to hire people as well as put the infrastructure in place. The plan is to initially staff one at Jefferson County and one in Stark County with satellite locations in the other areas,” he explained.
About 2,335 youth ultimately would be served throughout the region and an overall estimate of 60,000 kids statewide. The network to support them includes two categories: moderate care coordinator and intensive care coordinator.
“A majority of the 150 people will be in these two categories,” Dr. Kokiko said. “Qualifications include experience in helping children through mental health, child welfare, developmental disabilities, juvenile justice, special education and behavioral health care.”
He said the JCESC was grateful for the opportunity to expand its reach and assist children even further.
“On behalf of all the selected CME’s and the JCESC, I would like to sincerely thank Governor DeWine for his vision and commitment to OhioRISE, as well as all of the cabinet directors and Aetna for this amazing opportunity. We are eager to begin the CME work. Additionally, the grant dollars and support networks provided will ensure the success of OhioRISE while creating a brighter future for thousands of youth and families across the Buckeye State.”
Ohio Department of Medicaid officials announced the launch of OhioRISE last week and said it was the state’s first highly integrated care program for youth with complex behavioral health and multi-system needs.
"Our goal is making sure children with the most complex needs receive the right kind of care, in their hometowns, surrounded by families and communities they know and trust," stated ODM Director Maureen Corcoran. “CMEs are vital to the success of the OhioRISE model. They will serve as the singular point of contact families will turn to in times of crisis, and a welcomed resource for managing day-to-day behavioral health and family support services. Their focus is ensuring that wrap-around, high-intensity care is available, coordinated locally, and clinically integrated for children enrolled.”
The remaining CMEs provide community mental health and substance abuse, specialty care coordination, hospital and educational services and include Unison Health, Harbor, National Youth Advocate Program, Choices Coordinated Care Solutions, CareStar, Lighthouse Youth and Family Services, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Healvine, Integrated Services for Behavioral Health, The Village Network, The Buckeye Ranch, I Am Boundless, Inc., Wingspan Care Group, Coleman Health Services, OhioGuidestone, Positive Education Program, Ravenwood Health and Cadence Care Network while some of those organizations are in partnership with the Child and Family Health Collaborative. OhioRISE will be available to youth under age 21 who are Medicaid-eligible. For more information, visit the OhioRISE webpage at https://managedcare.medicaid.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/mac/managed-care/ohiorise.
Full-time positions that are a combination of face-to-face, on-site work will be available with benefits and retirement, and anyone interested from the surrounding areas may apply online at the JCESC website at www.jcesc.k12.oh.us
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