Creighton Nursing, CHI Health receive $500,000 grant
Creighton University and CHI Health have received $499,964 from the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska to help develop, recruit and retain Nebraska’s behavioral health workforce. The funding is part of the American Rescue Plan Act.
“This is an innovative project that combines the resources of the Creighton College of Nursing and CHI Health to address the critical shortage of psychiatric-mental healthcare in Nebraska,” said Catherine Todero, PhD, dean of the College of Nursing and vice provost for Health Sciences Campuses. “We believe expanding the scope of practice for primary care nurse practitioners by adding certification in psychiatric-mental health will bring this vital service quickly to areas where it is desperately needed.”
In this project, current family, pediatric and/or adult acute geriatric nurse practitioners employed by CHI Health in Nebraska will be provided the opportunity to become dually certified as psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioners in a one-year online program. The program will allow for a rapid increase in the behavioral health workforce of Nebraska.
“We are thrilled for this opportunity to work with our academic partners at Creighton University,” said Robin Conyers, CHI Health division vice president of behavioral services. “As the largest behavioral health provider in Nebraska, we know the need for more trained providers in many of our communities. In addition to education, this project allows our current behavioral providers to mentor these NPs and share their expertise. Once trained, these NPs will be available to provide this crucial care outside of the traditional behavioral health setting. Primary care, OB-GYN, neurology and additional subspecialty patients need psychiatric care, and many others will soon be able to receive care from providers they already know and trust. This will also free up space for our psychiatric providers to see the sickest patients who need a higher level of care.”
Potential candidates will be recruited, and those eligible for the program will be provided scholarships to the one-year postgraduate psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner certificate program at Creighton. Candidates practicing in the areas of identified greatest need in Nebraska will be given priority.
This project is designed to expedite increases in the behavioral health provider workforce in rural Nebraska. Nebraska is acutely experiencing a gap of available psychiatric-mental health providers to meet current needs. Eighty-eight of 93 counties in Nebraska are designated as a mental health provider shortage area, with 29 counties lacking the existence of any behavioral health professional.
The Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN) awarded $19,566,606 in American Rescue Plan Act funding to 83 Nebraska projects that will help develop, recruit and retain Nebraska’s behavioral health workforce.
BHECN, which serves as the state’s behavioral health workforce development center, announced the award recipients after a competitive application process that drew nearly 200 applications totaling nearly $50 million in requested funds across four award categories.
The Nebraska Legislature allocated more than $25 million in recovery plan funding to BHECN last year to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the shortage of behavioral health professionals.