Colorado awards $4.6 million for substance use treatment in rural communities

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DENVER (March 12, 2020) — Today, the Colorado Department of Human Services, Office of Behavioral Health (OBH) announced nearly $5 million in grants to expand access to substance use disorder treatment in rural and frontier communities.

Colorado House Bill 19-1287, which was signed by Gov. Jared Polis last May, established the grant program to increase treatment services in rural and frontier areas of the state. The law provided $5 million to OBH to be disseminated through three managed service organizations (MSOs), which contract with the state to manage substance use treatment services for uninsured or underinsured Coloradans.

Following a competitive application process, the MSOs awarded $4.6 million to 16 groups, funding projects such as hiring more certified addiction counselors, launching withdrawal management centers and opening new recovery residence programs. 

“We are committed to developing a robust continuum of care for substance use in rural and frontier communities,” said OBH Director Robert Werthwein. “This much-needed funding will help organizations tailor solutions in their counties and grow successful programs.” 

The grant evaluation process solicited county-level input to ensure projects met communities’ needs. The MSOs convened regional selection committees comprised of two MSO representatives, two area representatives appointed by county commissioners in relevant MSO regions and two CDHS staff members. The remainder of the $5 million will fund administrative costs, with $200,000 rolling over into the next grant cycle. 

Substance use disorder affects Coloradans in all counties but is particularly acute in rural and frontier communities that lack robust treatment options. In FY 2018-19, more than 54,000 Coloradans received treatment and withdrawal management services for substance use disorder.

The first round of funding includes the following projects broken out by MSO region: 

AspenPointe — South Central Colorado

Park County

  • Award Amount: $100,000
  • Project: Increase the number of certified addictions counselors (CACs) who will be able to serve the community, allowing for increased hours and access to substance use services in Park County 

Rocky Mountain Behavioral Health

  • Award Amount: $150,000
  • Project: Support an intensive outpatient program in Fremont County to serve approximately 40 patients per year 

Solvista Health

  • Award Amount: $700,000
  • Project: Open the first clinically monitored residential withdrawal management program in Salida, serving clients from Chaffee, Custer, Fremont and Lake counties as well as neighboring Park, Teller, Saguache and Gunnison counties.

Signal Behavioral Health Network — Northeast Colorado 

Advocates for Recovery Colorado (AFRC)

  • Award Amount: $128,000
  • Project: Expand AFRC’s daily Peer Recovery Support Services into Sterling, to men and women ages 18 and up

Centennial Mental Health Center

  • Award Amount: $818,844
  • Project: Develop and implement two treatment-enhanced recovery residence programs serving clients in the rural and frontier counties of northeastern Colorado (Logan, Phillips, Sedgwick, Washington, Morgan, Yuma, Kit Carson, Cheyenne, Lincoln and Elbert counties) 

Signal Behavioral Health Network — Southeast Colorado

Health Solutions

  • Award Amount: $234,927
  • Project: Expand substance use treatment and medication-assisted treatment options with additional staff at a new location in Trinidad that will serve Las Animas County

Region Six Alcohol and Drug Abuse Corporation

  • Award Amount: $184,330
  • Project: Add staff to expand residential and detoxification treatment in rural and frontier areas, including Otero, Bent and Prowers counties

San Luis Valley Behavioral Health Group

  • Award Amount: $210,524
  • Project: Increase availability for intensive outpatient services to Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Mineral, Rio Grande and Saguache counties

Southeast Health Group

  • Award Amount: $300,000
  • Project: Build an eight-bed sober living home in La Junta

West Slope CASA — Northwest Colorado

Summit County

  • Award Amount: $216,028
  • Project: Establish a withdrawal management program and create a comprehensive continuum of care

Providence Recovery

  • Award Amount: $129,961
  • Project: Expand capacity for sober living resources in Moffat and Rio Blanco counties

Mountain Medical

  • Award Amount: $138,168
  • Project: Establish an intensive outpatient program in Routt County (Steamboat) 

Mind Springs Health

  • Award Amount: $336,414
  • Project: Increase access to a continuum of substance use disorder treatment services, including medical or clinical detox, residential treatment, recovery support services and intensive outpatient treatment by hiring, training and integrating mobile case managers/peer supports.

West Slope CASA — Southwest Colorado

Axis Health System

  • Award Amount: $245,762
  • Project: Increase access to substance use disorder treatment services, including recovery support services and intensive outpatient programs with increased staff positions based in Archuleta and La Plata counties 

Center for Mental Health

  • Award Amount: $514,876
  • Project: Hire new staff and complete certification trainings for intensive outpatient program staff, starting an intensive outpatient program in Montrose and increasing substance use disorder services.

River Valley Family Health

  • Award Amount: $239,362
  • Project: Hire additional staff to increase substance use disorder services by 220% in the next two years.

OBH has approximately $5 million available in FY 2020-21 to fund additional projects with applications to be available later this month. Interested organizations should follow the OBH blog for updates and contact the MSO in their region for future funding opportunities.

Media contact:

Madlynn Ruble


Phone: 303.866.3411