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NewsNow - 09.23.2021

Redesigned OhioMHAS Website Coming Oct. 8, Preview Webinar Planned for Oct. 7

Big changes are coming to the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) website. On Oct. 8, we will launch a newly redesigned site that is built with our users in mind. Using focus groups, testing, and data, we have a new navigational structure designed to enhance the experience of anyone visiting our website. The layout of the site is modern and will work well on a desktop, phone, or tablet, and visitors will enjoy an experience that is smooth and standardized with other state agencies. If you would like to get a preview of the new site, join us for a webinar on Oct. 7 at noon. In addition to a general overview, we’ll also show you how to navigate highly visited areas of our site, like licensure & certification and grants & funding. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

COVID-19 Update: Hospital Situation, Vaccine Incentives for Ohioans Ages 12-25

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today provided an update on the increased impact that COVID-19 hospitalizations are having on the state’s hospitals and a new vaccine incentive effort to help keep our children in school, in-person, five days a week.


“I received a letter from the Ohio Hospital Association outlining the dire conditions facing our hospitals who are on the front lines of treating patients with COVID. While they are doing everything they can to help these patients, they are facing a severe nursing and staffing shortage," said Governor DeWine. “What they wrote is consistent with what we’ve been hearing from front-line health care workers.”

The letter reported that increasing cases are putting a strain on hospital resources. The data shows:

  • In mid-July, Ohio hospitals were treating 200 COVID-19 patients, today that number is 3,702. That’s a 16-fold increase in two months.
  • In mid-July, one out of 100 patients in the hospital were being treated for COVID. Today the ratio is one out of six. Today, 40% of patients on ventilators are being treated for COVID.
  • In rural Southeast Ohio half of hospitalized patients are being treated for COVID-19 and two-thirds of the patients in the intensive care unit are being treated for COVID.

The letter described a situation where strained resources impact the ability to care for all patients. Some Ohio hospitals are diverting patients away from emergency departments, cancelling certain procedures, experiencing long wait times in emergency departments, and shutting down certain units to redeploy staff to critical cases.


Governor DeWine emphasized that keeping kids in school, in-person, five days a week, remains a priority. We know that the best way to do that is to get students vaccinated. In addition to protecting kids from the severe effects of the virus, students who are vaccinated, do not have to quarantine if exposed, which means they won’t miss out on school. To encourage eligible kids to get vaccinated, Governor DeWine announced the Ohio Vax-2-School program, which will be open to Ohioans aged 12-25, and will be similar to the scholarship portion of the successful Vax-a-Million program. Prizes will include 50 scholarships worth $10,000 each and five $100,000 scholarships to an Ohio college or university for career or technical education. Prizes will be announced Monday through Friday beginning the week of October 11. More details will be announced, including how to register, in the coming days.

Teachers & Families: Coping with Back-to-School Stress – Sept. 30

Mental Health America will present Teachers & Families: Coping with Back-to-School Stress on Sept. 30 at 2 p.m. This virtual presentation will focus on: understanding how teachers, parents, and guardians can take care of their own mental health; increasing awareness around students’ mental health needs; and communicating between school and home. Click HERE for more information and to register. 

Reminder: Celebration of Recovery – Oct. 1

The Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities (OACBHA), in partnership with Ohio Citizen Advocates for Addiction Recovery, NAMI Ohio, and Ohio Peer-Recovery Organizations (Ohio-PRO), will host a virtual
Celebration of Recovery on Oct. 1 at 1 p.m. Sponsored by OhioMHAS, the celebration will feature inspiring recovery stories, a recovery-centered trivia game, and keynote presentation from comedian, writer, and podcast host, Chris Gethard. At 3 p.m., attendees will have the option to attend one of two breakout sessions: 1) Art for the Heart or 2) Yoga and Mindfulness for Recovery.

OSPF, 1n5, Cincinnati Bengals Announce “Kicking the Stigma” Campaign

The Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation (OSPF) is teaming up with 1n5 and the Cincinnati Bengals to help kick start the conversation around mental health and to eliminate the stigma. By having the tough conversations we can all do our part to #normalizementalhealth. To help support this work, OSPF will make a donation to 1n5 for every field goal scored during the 2021 season by the Bengals.

Free Resource to Support Mental Health and Emotional Health in Schools

In today’s technology-driven world, especially amidst a global pandemic, it can be difficult for even the most watchful parent and teacher to detect the signs of a struggling student, and many times, children aren’t comfortable going directly to an adult first. So, to help meet the needs of the whole child, a free, new resource called Closegap provides students with a little extra support and a venue for further discussion. The platform allows students to complete a daily emotional wellness check-in and offers brief coping skills solutions that students can practice in the moment. Counselors and parents can receive feedback as often as desired to ensure they are aware of how students are feeling. If a situation warrants intervention, a trusted adult will be there to help. Closegap’s check-in is based on research from the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, Greater Good in Education, and the Child Mind Institute. Visit closegap.org to learn more.

Updated SUD Services Prior Authorization Request Form Available For Use

In August 2021, the Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) shared the “Substance Use Disorder Services Prior Authorization Request” form for SUD residential and Partial Hospitalization services. The form was recently updated to incorporate provider and plan requests for additional space for open-ended responses. Updates include enlarged text boxes throughout and an additional comments text box on the last page (see image below). The updated form is now available electronically on the ODM website HERE or by searching “substance use” or “Form # 10276” on the ODM Forms page.

As a reminder, the Substance Use Disorder Services Prior Authorization Request form was developed earlier this year by a subcommittee of the SUD 1115 Waiver Stakeholder Advisory Committee in partnership with representatives of Ohio’s Medicaid managed care organizations (MCOs) and MyCare Ohio Plans (MCOPs). Use of the new form is optional but highly recommended to:

  • Improve/support adherence to ASAM Criteria
  • Increase consistency in the prior authorization process
  • Standardize required documentation and align with OhioMHAS documentation requirements
  • Minimize administrative burden
  • Ensure that the client perspective is considered

Completed forms should be submitted to the Medicaid Managed Care Organization in which the member is enrolled or to the MITS prior authorization portal for members enrolled in fee for service Medicaid. A comprehensive list of submission methods and contact information is available in the Medicaid Managed Care Plan Resource Guide Information Grid. Questions may be submitted to BH-Enroll@Medicaid.Ohio.Gov.

In the News

9.22.21 | WKYC-TV What drives the National Alliance on Mental Illness: Kimberly Carter shares her family’s story

9.22.21 | WSYX-TV ‘Silent Watch’ to raise awareness about suicide amongst vets

9.22.21 | Sharon (PA) Herald Help is there for anyone who reaches out

9.22.21 | Ashland Source ‘Suicide Awareness and Prevention Walk’ set for Sept. 26, both in person and virtual

9.22.21 | Toledo Blade (Editorial) Ohio’s opioid crisis is a local crisis

9.22.21 | The Ohio State University News Deaths with drugs as contributing factor rising dramatically

9.22.21 | NPR Methamphetamine deaths soar, hitting Black and Native Americans especially hard

9.22.21 | MedicalXpress Study: empowering Black girls may help to reduce drug use

9.22.21 | Fremont News-Messenger Community Fortress makes changes, hopes for partnership that allows for future growth

9.21.21 | WYTV-TV First responders need help too – Trumbull County Week of Appreciation sets out to do just that

9.21.21 | Public News Service OH County working to treat stressors that lead to youth marijuana use

9.21.21 | HealthDay Suicide rates rising among Black youths

9.21.21 | WDTN-TV Montgomery County commissioner, organizations highlight importance of Human Services levy

9.21.21 | Highland County Press Paint Valley ADAMH thanks frontline heroes during week of appreciation

9.21.21 | Ashland Source Appleseed offering youth alcohol, drug prevention at Ashland High and Community Survey through “Communities Talk”

9.21.21 | TIME Caring for the caregivers post-pandemic

9.21.21 | WCMH-TV Central Ohio non-profit offering medical help to those with developmental issues

9.21.21 | Northwest Signal Myths vs. facts about suicide

9.21.21 | Springfield News-Sun Get help understanding what mental health care your insurance should cover

9.9.21 | Marion Star Marion overdose victims remembered for Overdose Awareness Day in viral video