Nebraska DHHS Announces $10 Million SAMHSA Grant

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Lincoln – The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, working in partnership with Community Alliance in Omaha, has received notice of a five-year, $2 million per year federal grant through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The purpose of the grant is to test and refine an evidence-based and trauma-informed model of planning and care that fully integrates health, mental health, substance abuse and recovery-oriented care and treatment for adults with serious mental illness, with a particular focus on those with co-morbid chronic health conditions. The model will be developed in the metro Omaha area with the goal of dissemination of lessons learned to all other regions in the state.

“This grant supports DHHS’s mission to improve the health and wellbeing of Nebraska’s most vulnerable populations,” said Janine Fromm, M.D., executive medical officer for DHHS. “We are excited to be one of only four states awarded this grant, and also excited to partner with Community Alliance who has a long history of providing excellent community-based care.” The other states receiving the grants are Alabama, New Jersey and Tennessee.

Grant funds will be utilized to add and test strategic functionalities necessary to achieve a fully integrated care model for those living with serious mental illnesses; provide staff training on evidence-based practices; develop a model for engagement at the point of first contact and meeting immediate physical health, behavioral health, and social determinant needs; provide rapid access to in-depth assessments in mental health and chemical dependency necessary to plan treatment and establish a diagnosis for third-party reimbursement; expand the use of population focused health strategies; and expand numbers served and therapeutic functionalities delivered via telehealth.

Both HHS and Community Alliance praised the collaboration between public and private sectors that led to this grant award, including the Divisions of Public Health, Medicaid and Long-Term Care, and Behavioral Health. The Division of Public Health will serve as the state lead for the grant, and a statewide integrated care Taskforce will be formed to review evaluation data and provide feedback on the project’s activities and findings.

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Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.