Near East Side clinic to fill gap in mental health-care services

A new clinic on the Near East Side is set to fill the gap for people who lost their neighborhood behavioral health-care agency this year.

PrimaryOne Health and Southeast Healthcare are working together to provide both primary care and mental health services from an office at 720 E. Broad St., the nonprofit organizations announced this week.

PrimaryOne Health already is offering care; Southeast will start serving patients Nov. 11, focusing on those with severe and persistent mental illness.

The Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Board of Franklin County is helping to fund the organizations as they aim to meet area demand in the wake of the financial collapse of Columbus Area Integrated Health Services. That agency closed suddenly this spring after serving the Near East Side and its largely African-American community for more than 50 years. Thousands of people were affected.

PrimaryOne Health CEO Charleta Tavares said it’s important to ensure that patients “can receive comprehensive care in one location.” The area east of Downtown is underserved, she said, and in need of integrated services.

The closing of Columbus Area Integrated affected people who depended on the agency for medication and care to manage their severe mental illness or addiction problems. The ADAMH board referred more than 900 clients to new care practitioners and sent letters to nearly 4,000 Columbus Area clients overall, including those who still had open cases but hadn’t recently been in for a visit.

PrimaryOne spokeswoman Yolanda Owens said the new clinic expects to serve 150 to 200 people during the first year. “The idea is that this is a starting point,” she said.

Services range from counseling, psychiatric services and substance-abuse treatment to medical, dental and vision care. Both PrimaryOne and Southeast will accept private health insurance and Medicaid.