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Nassau program hopes to cut Medicaid costs

Looking to reduce escalating Medicaid costs caused by emergency room visits, Nassau County has launched a program aimed at connecting eligible behavioral health patients with local outpatient providers as an alternative.

The Assessment and Referral Center, or ARC, will be tasked with identifying Nassau Department of Social Services clients who could benefit from outpatient behavior health care or at-home care, said Karen Garber, spokeswoman for the department.

Staffed by mental health and chemical dependency professionals, the ARC program will also conduct screenings on a case-by-case basis for social service applicants who demonstrate symptoms needing mental health assistance, Garber said.

“The whole idea is to get them the services they need right from the start and reduce the amount of emergency room visits,” Garber said.

The program — a collaboration of the Department of Social Services and the county’s Office of Mental Health, Chemical Dependency and Developmental Disabilities Services — will operate from the Department of Social Services office at 60 Lindbergh Blvd., Uniondale.

“We are pleased to partner in this important endeavor, as it is certain to facilitate access to needed behavioral health care for individuals who have oftentimes fallen through the cracks in our health care system,” said Dr. John Imhof, commissioner of the Department of Social Services.

For more information, call the Social Services Department at 516-227-8519.

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