MARION

Horizons shifts mental health services to Covenant Family Solutions Cedar Rapids nonprofit found it hard to retain therapists, deal with insurance

Covenant Family Solutions to manage its mental health and wellness services
Covenant Family Solutions to manage its mental health and wellness services
/

CEDAR RAPIDS — Horizons, A Family Service Alliance has shifted its mental health services to Covenant Family Solutions of Marion.

The Cedar Rapids nonprofit announced Monday it has entered an agreement with Covenant to manage its mental health and wellness services, a move that will expand mental and behavioral health treatment available to Horizons’ clients, agency officials said.

“It’s really about the clients being served, and the clients will continue to be served,” said Mike Barnhart, CEO of Horizons.

The partnership went into effect at the end of September.

Jacob Christenson, founder and CEO of Covenant Family Solutions, predicts the transition period — until Horizons has closed its program and his agency’s therapists have taken on those clients — will take about six months.

Barnhart said most of the clients in Horizon’s mental health program rely on Medicaid. Some are uninsured or underinsured.

It’s been difficult to retain therapists at Horizons, he said, and the agency has seen a lot of turnover,

Coupled with the challenges of obtaining insurance reimbursement for Medicaid clients, “it wasn’t looking like the program was sustainable for us,” Barnhart said.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

“So we were looking at ways that we could keep mental health therapy in our building and make sure those clients got served,” Barnhart said. “Thankfully, Covenant was looking to expand in this area.”

Covenant, which has offices in Marion, Coralville and Cedar Falls, is a for-profit agency.

“We have created a model that is sustainable, and we’ve been able to grow over the last four or five years,” Christenson said.

The Covenant staff, he said, has expanded from two therapists when the agency started six years ago to around 35 now.

Its therapists also offer in-school counseling through the Grant Wood Area Education Agency and in school districts, including Linn-Mar, Alburnett and Central City.

Horizons, 819 Fifth St. SE, offers transportation, nutrition and mental health services to underserved populations. In fiscal 2018, that included more than 12,000 individuals and families, with nearly 4,200 therapy sessions, according to its annual report.

Therapy covers such conditions as trauma, PTSD, relationship issues and recovery.

“Behind the scenes a lot is happening,” Christenson said. “In terms of what clients are seeing, there’s really not a whole lot that’s happening.”

Covenant also plans to bring additional therapists to Horizons and offer additional services, such as medication management, Barnhart said.

The reverse is true, too.

Christenson said Covenant, for example, could refer its clients to Horizons for financial counseling.

Comments: (319) 368-8536; michaela.ramm@thegazette.com

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.