Supportive Health & Human Services
Franklin County Opiate Action Plan
Combatting the Opiate Crisis
Franklin County continues to face an unprecedented opiate epidemic. According to the Coroner’s Office, drug overdose deaths in 2017 were up 47% from 2016 to 520 in 2017. Opiate related deaths accounted for 80.8% of the overdose deaths vs. 75.3% in 2016.
In addition to the increasing number of opiate related deaths, the Columbus Division of
Fire reported a 20% increase in the number of dispatches for an emergency drug overdose over the last four years. According to the Public Children Services Association of Ohio, 70% of children under the age of one in custody of Children Services have opiate involved parents.
The Franklin County Opiate Action Plan was developed in 2017 by the Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Board of Franklin County at the direction of the Board of Commissioners and Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther. The Opiate Action Plan focuses on four overarching goals: preventing opiate abuse and addiction; reducing the number of opiate-related deaths; expanding access for treatment; and improving the safety of our community.
In late 2017, the county helped open Maryhaven’s new Addiction Stabilization Center which will have a total of 55 beds to triage patients and provide immediate access to detox and treatment and will occupy space in the former Mercy Hospital building at 1430 South High St.
For 2018, the Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Board of Franklin County has budgeted $20.0 million for addiction services and an additional $6.0 million to address action items from the Opiate Action Plan. The Coroner's Office budget includes the addition of a full-time Forensic Pathologist, Morgue Technician, and Investigator to meet the increasing caseloads associated with opiate related deaths amongst other increases.
On January 23, the commissioners approved a resolution declaring that the unlawful distribution of prescription pain pills has created a public nuisance, and authorizing the retention of special council to begin litigation against opiate drug manufacturers and distributors.
Partnering to Provide Healthcare Services to Franklin County’s Under- and Uninsured Residents
Approximately 105,000 of Franklin County residents are under- or uninsured, causing lost productivity at work and in school, and critical delays in receiving vital medical treatment. Franklin County partners with local nonprofits to serve this vulnerable population. One partner is PrimaryOne Health. Via a $475,000 agreement, PrimaryOne Health seeks to increase patient access to obstetrical care, decrease the number of babies born with a low birth weight, and screen women for cervical cancer, and provide appropriate follow up for women with abnormal test results. In 2018, approximately 500 women will receive case management services including intensive nurse follow-up and clinical intervention with educational or social services to ensure full-term healthy babies.
Under terms of the second contract, in the amount of $300,000, Physicians CareConnection will coordinate medical care for low-income, under- or uninsured patients, achieve successful healthcare outcomes for high-risk hard to reach populations in central Ohio, and provide services for patients to realize improved physical and mental health status, easier access to care, and a reduction in the use of emergency rooms. In 2018, it is estimated that Physicians CareConnection will coordinate at least 3,500 patient referrals for primary care, specialty care, and diagnostic services, as well as coordinate at least 400 referrals for dental services, of which 50 will be for dentures. In addition, Physicians CareConnection will coordinate 1,000 one-way trips for transportation, 4,000 prescriptions, and 2,000 interpreter-hours for patients served.
The commissioners hope to improve access to medically necessary prescription medications for the uninsured and underinsured through a $65,000 contract with the Charitable Pharmacy of Central Ohio. The Charitable Pharmacy will assist clients in identifying alternative medications and/or working with drug manufacturers if the pharmacy does not stock a particular drug, and provide counseling and education by licensed professionals to ensure that clients take the medications properly and are aware of clinics and programs that can help them access continuing medical care or a “medical home.” In 2017, it is estimated that the Charitable Pharmacy will provide 1,750 low-income individuals living in Franklin County with a total of 54,000 prescriptions with a market value of $4,320,000.
Job & Family Services
The Franklin County Department of Job and Family Services is a county, state and federal-supported agency responsible for basic financial, medical and social service programs. These programs are made available to ensure that no one is forced to go without the basic essentials of food, clothing, shelter, medical care and necessary life sustaining services because of a lack of resources.
Residents enrolled in Medicaid
Children and families covered by Medicaid
On Medicaid expansion
Children enrolled in childcare
Children enrolled in free summer camps
Children in after-school programs
Franklin County is moving low-income residents off assistance and into sustainable careers with livable benefits in the construction trades. Officials with Franklin County’s Board of Commissioners Office, Department of Job and Family Services, and Economic and Development Planning began talking with the Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council, which struggled with not having enough qualified workers to meet the building demands of Central Ohio.
Together, the public and private partners enlisted the help of IMPACT Community Action, a nonprofit with proven success in job development programs, to create Building Futures. Students were provided with nine weeks of training, including soft skills such as skills assessment, teamwork and interpersonal skills training, before receiving safety certification, construction-specific literacy, math, and trade instruction.
The pre-apprenticeship program was approved by the state of Ohio and marked the first apprenticeship program between a county and all the building trades. In its first pilot class, 21 of the 26 students graduated and moved on to full-time jobs in the trades. The county is making plans for three more classes, two of which are expected to be completed in 2018.
Though it’s unclear what construction projects the students will later be working on, county officials know Franklin County holds a lot of opportunity. For example, the county has more than $200 million in construction plans alone starting in 2018, with the first phase of a new jail being built and beginning stages of a new coroner/forensic center.
Achieve, More & Prosper (A.M.P.)
The state originally proposed the Comprehensive Case Management and Employment Program as part of the 2016-17 state biennial budget. The program blends federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) funds and requires a commissioner-designated lead entity to administer wraparound case management services for eligible youth, ages 14-24. Franklin County conducted a series of focus groups and surveys with young people and formally launched its branded version of the program, Achieve More and Prosper, or A.M.P. for short, in fall of 2017. The program is a partnership among Franklin County Department of Job and Family Services, the Workforce Development Board of Central Ohio and local nonprofits the Columbus Urban League, Eckerd Connects, IMPACT Community Action and Ohio GuideStone.
Youth enrolled in A.M.P. complete an assessment and are matched with a Personal Advocate who cares about their future goals and is there to work with them every step of the way. The advocates also help connect young people with wraparound services to assist them and their families in overcoming whatever barriers they may face – education, job training, parenting support, mental health or substance abuse – to begin on the path toward self-sufficiency and break the cycle of poverty. Career counseling and navigation services; job readiness; work experience; occupational skills training; assessments; and follow-up services are just a few of the 14 core elements of available through this innovative new program.
“Since I’ve been in the A.M.P. program, I have housing, I’ve finished school and I’m now employed,” A.M.P. participant Alisha W. said. “It’s so helpful – I can’t express it anymore!”
For more information, visit www.LevelUpWithAMP.com. Click here to watch video testimonials from Taylor and other A.M.P. participants.
Office on Aging
In May, Franklin County voters passed the Senior Services Levy by an astounding 84%; the largest margin of victory since the first levy passed in 1992. The five-year levy funds the Senior Options program which helps thousands of our county’s older residents maintain their independence, retain a good quality of life and delay the need for hands-on care. The approved levy will raise $228 million over five years, an average of $45.6 million a year.
This year also marked the 25th Anniversary of the implementation of Senior Options which appropriately coincides with passing of the sixth levy. The program began operation in 1993 with a few thousand clients and now serves approximately 9,000 a month. Leadership of the agency also transitioned during 2017. Long-time Director, Antonia Carroll, left to pursue new adventures after 33 years. She grew the agency from a handful of employees to approximately 90 managing an array of services designed to serve the county’s older adult population. New Director Michelle Missler will lead the agency through the new levy cycle and comes with a vision to not only preserve the independence of our older adults, but create innovative aging solutions that will allow opportunities for aging individuals to remain connected.
Our 65-and-older population is expected to double in the next 35 years. This poses a great opportunity for county government to ensure that as people age and their abilities change, that we are able to provide easy access to services, amenities, and opportunities. To that end, the commissioners approved a contract with the Ohio State University College of Social Work to Work to support Age-Friendly Columbus, a member of the World Health Organization and AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities, and to expand its efforts beyond the City of Columbus to encompass all of Franklin County. For more info about Age-Friendly Columbus, visit AgeFriendlyColumbus.org.
Miles of transportation provided
Home-delivered meals provided
Hours of light housekeeping provided
Seniors served by Community Support and Outreach Programs
Seniors enrolled in our Home and Community Based Care Programs
Child Support Enforcement Agency
The Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) helps parents to establish and enforce child support orders to enhance the economic security and health insurance protection for the children and families of Franklin County.