moson road

The Cochise County Board of Supervisors approved the widening of Moson Road during Tuesday’s meeting.

BISBEE— In order to help those who need health assistance after release from jail, Cochise Health and Social Services received approval from the Board of Supervisors during the Tuesday meeting to enter into a contract with Hope Inc. to provide telepsychiatry and transportation to appointments.

On Jan. 26, the supervisors approved an intergovernmental agreement to provide transportation services for individuals who are being released as required by the Overdose and Prevention grant award of $150,000 per year, said Suzanne Hagle, CHSS prevention services director.

Hagle said, “In the IGA we agreed to provide transportation services for individuals who are being released from incarceration. The grant’s goal is to improve linkages to opioid misuse treatment and overdose prevention services and other community–based support for eligible individuals discharged from the Cochise County Jail and satellite locations. Approving this contract will provide transportation to necessary appointments and peer support for individuals enrolled in Peer Navigation services.”

Peer Navigation is a program to assist people who have mental health issues and/or opioid addiction get back on track. It is presented by people who have walked in the same shoes.

Hagle said Hope Inc. will help support individuals who experience psychiatric and/or co–occurring challenges to understand the system processes, effectively navigate social support systems and access support and resources to sustain their recovery and avoid recidivism.

Supervisor Ann English said, “Transportation for some people is a big hurdle. We can tell them when they leave the jail that they have an appointment, but there’s no one to pick them up. Sometimes they can’t make their appointments. So, then we have recidivism taking place. I’m hoping that will be the key.”

Supervisor Peggy Judd was in favor of the program and said, “Someone comes to pick them up is a mentor. I like that.”

The county will pay $12,500 monthly to Hope, Inc.

Moson Road project

In preparation of the Moson Road improvements, the supervisors approved widening it from State Route 90 to Hereford Road and will proceed to obtain rights of way from 48 parcel owners.

Jackie Watkins, director of engineering and natural resources, received the go-ahead to seek the rights of way in order to expand the right of way along Moson to 100 feet. She expects the acquisition to take two years. The county has easements on some properties, but not others.

Next year the design phase of the Moson Road expansion will begin, said Watkins.

Supervisors English, Peggy Judd and Tom Crosby decided the public necessity of the road width changes and determined no landowner would be adversely affected.

This project has been on the books for a number of years. Once the rights of way are granted, the county can move forward on improving the road, washes and drainage ditches.

Jail detainees offered help

CHSS director Alicia Thompson received approval to contract with community partners to provide medical services to jail inmates with COVID–19 health disparities. Contingent upon available funding, local health departments and statewide partners are expected to implement strategies and activities in response to local needs for mitigation, prevention resources and services to reduce COVID–19 disparities.

Medical detention staff found multiple benefits of the agreements which include “increasing the amount of mental health services provided to individuals in custody, increase in-custody suicide prevention and awareness, enhance and support the current re–entry services, increase collaboration with mental health services, decrease recidivism and improve the overall health care at the detention facility,” she said.

The intergovernmental agreement will leverage partnerships between Arizona Department of Social Services, local health departments and statewide partners by providing funding to support the implementation.

Thompson said these were the first six of 10 community partner service agreements to be presented to the board for approval. They are Arizona Prevention Research Center in the amount of $226,319; Arizona Community Health Workers Association Inc., $750,000; Chiricahua Community Health Centers Inc., $458,000; Pinal Hispanic Council, $277,000; Southeast Arizona Area Health Education Center, $198,620; and Winchester Heights Health Organization, $335,000.

They will conduct outreach and education to promote COVID–19 prevention, testing and vaccination; provide individual education in the community, home, workplace, community location and by phone to promote health literacy among community members; increase access to health care and improve overall health and quality of life; work with community members to address their social determinants of health so that they can improve the health and quality of life of themselves and their families; refer community members to services available to them; and assist with interpretation and translation of health information.

The overarching strategies of the grant include expanding existing or developing new mitigation procedures, prevention resources and services to reduce COVID–19 related disparities among populations at higher risk and that are underserved. This will increase and improve data collection and reporting for populations experiencing a disproportionate burden of infection, severe illness and death.

The $2.249 million for the program comes through a $3.1 million ADHS grant awarded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.