In fact, the state has invested more than $2 million into Highland Rivers Health out of a $100 million statewide to help meet the gap in services once provided by the state.
Highland Rivers Health CEO Jason Bearden told Rome Rotarians on Thursday that the organization has used the money that has so far been invested by the state legislature to form a 16-bed crisis stabilization unit, a four-bed home for the developmentally disabled, and an $887,000 Assertive Community Treatment Team comprised of 10 people who go out to help patients.
“We still need to grow the infrastructure in order to continue to help more people,” he said.
Highland Rivers Health — which has been known under many names during the years — has grown into its recent identity in the past 10 years, Bearden said. And in those 10 years it has expanded not only to serve just those with mental health issues. In fact, Bearden said, it has grown into an overall health care company.
“Putting service above self, that’s what excites me. Engaging with the community, engaging with people and helping those who are in need,” he said. “That’s at the heart of what we do at Highland Rivers Health. ... We’re growing in terms of our footprint and impact on Northwest Georgia.”
Highland Rivers Health serves 12 counties in Northwest Georgia, from Fannin County to Haralson County. They serve both inpatient and outpatient needs throughout the region, including a 37-bed program in Rome called Women’s Outreach and Recovery.
“The program serves young women who have gotten themselves into trouble with substance abuse,” Bearden said, “whether it be meth or prescription drugs, where addiction takes over.”
He said the program’s success is measured by the percentages of women who come out of the program back on their feet. He said 80 percent of those who leave after four to six months come out with a job, and 100 percent come out with a stable living situation.
“If it wasn’t for this program in Rome and the partners who help us, many of these ladies would end up in prison or homeless,” Bearden said.
Its service area also includes Bartow, Cherokee, Floyd, Gilmer, Gordon, Murray, Polk, Paulding, Pickens and Whitfield counties as well.