Spindletop Center, a local community center, will receive special Medicaid funding to expand its services to Jefferson, Hardin, Chambers and Orange county residents who have intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental health issues and substance abuse challenges. Under a statewide 1115 Medicaid Healthcare Transformation Waiver program, Spindletop will implement 14 projects valued at $37 million over a four year period.

These projects include physical and behavioral health care integration, a hospital-based substance abuse detoxification program, a youth respite program to divert teens from detention centers, housing for people with mental health issues, and expanded behavioral health crisis services.

“The purpose of this Medicaid waiver program is to achieve healthcare cost savings and improve outcomes by providing the right care in the right setting to reduce hospitalizations, emergency room use and criminal justice interactions,” said Chalonnes Hoover, chief financial officer for Spindletop Center.

“In addition to decreasing healthcare costs, these programs will be a boon to the local economy,” Hoover said.  “They will add about 50 jobs at Spindletop Center and will increase business for the local companies we will use for renovating facilities and purchasing furnishings and vehicles.”

What cannot be counted in dollar figures is the reduction in the number of people who are suffering in the face of very difficult challenges.

“Between one in four or one in five people will struggle with mental health or substance abuse issues,” said Sally Broussard, chief authority officer for Spindletop. “About three of every 100 babies born have intellectual disabilities. It’s important for these people to access help in places where they will be treated with dignity and respect. They deserve to have available people who will treat them as a whole person, taking into account both their physical and mental health needs. We want to be leaders and innovators in that.”