North Douglas County residents on the Oregon Health Plan can now access mental health services under a new partnership between Cottage Grove based South Lane Mental Health and Umpqua Health Alliance, Douglas County’s Coordinated Care Organization, which serves people in the county on the Oregon Health Plan.

“We’re excited to partner with South Lane Mental Health to provide Umpqua Health Alliance members in north Douglas County greater access to a comprehensive collection of behavioral health services,” said Sue Goldberg, vice president of network and business development at Umpqua Health, in a press release from the company.

She said the partnership expands behavioral health services in the rural areas of Douglas County and gives Umpqua Health an opportunity to align with an organization that’s been successfully serving rural communities for close to 30 years.

Umpqua Health officials said they have focused on building their behavioral health services footprint for the past two years, during which time it has increased its number of contracted behavioral health providers by 38 percent in an effort to ensure services are available to all Umpqua Health Alliance members who require them. That includes those living in underserved rural areas of Douglas County.

With South Lane Mental Health, Umpqua Health is collaborating with an organization that offers services that include individual, family and child counseling; medication assessment, management and monitoring; substance use recovery services; and referrals.

“We have long considered north Douglas County part of our community but haven’t always been able to offer services for folks in that area,” said Tom Wheeler, South Lane Mental Health’s executive director said in the press release.

Wheeler said they are pleased to join with Umpqua Health, making it possible for residents of rural towns like Drain and Yoncalla and other north county communities, to access services without having to travel much farther to Roseburg.

Umpqua Health based in Roseburg, is the parent company of Umpqua Health Alliance, one of 16 coordinated care organizations serving more than 26,000 Douglas County residents on the Oregon Health Plan and close to 10,000 more individuals with Medicare, private insurance or exchange coverage.

South Lane Mental Health in Cottage Grove was established in 1988 and provides counseling, crisis response, substance use recovery services, and case and medication management for Cottage Grove area adults and children each year.

Reporter Dan Bain can be reached at 541-957-4221 or e-mail at dbain@nrtoday.com.

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