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The second Louisville Health Advisory Board Zero Suicide Community Action Planning Session occurred on a beautiful sunny day in November. Twenty-five community members gathered at Metro United Way on Tuesday, November 28 to discuss the city’s collective interest in eliminating suicide by embracing the Zero Suicide framework - Our target is Zero Suicide in our community.

Participating organizations included:

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  • Centerstone
  • Department of Public Health and Wellness
  • JCPS
  • Wellspring
  • Family & Children’s Place
  • Our Lady of Peace
  • VA Medical Center
  • Department of Neighborhood Health
  • Jensen (J&J)
  • Humana
  • Louisville Urban League
  • Louisville Metro Police Department
  • Assure Partners (Employer Wellness)
  • Passport
  • University of Louisville. 

Community members were greeted by Wayne Crabtree, Director of the Office of Addiction Services at Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness. He shared the history of the Louisville Health Advisory Board Behavioral Health Committee, provided an overview of the committee’s goals, and its focus on Zero Suicide. Wayne shared current statistics on suicide rates in Louisville compared to peer cities and left us with the important message that “Zero Suicide is not a mental health issue. It’s a public health issue.”

Kelly Gannon, Chief Operating Officer at Centerstone, reviewed an exercise completed during the first Community Action Planning session on June 26that was designed to capture strengths and opportunities for how we currently address suicide in our city. She and community members looked at all four areas of the “SWOT” diagram to identify additional strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for the Zero Suicide efforts in Louisville. Many other partners were identified as needed voices to fully represent all of Louisville.

Guest speaker Jeff Felty, Compliance & Privacy Officer for Centerstone, presented information about health information privacy. During the last planning meeting, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was identified as a barrier for communication between community partners. Jeff provided guidelines based on covered and non-covered entities, following the strongest language of the law, exceptions such as medical emergency, psychotherapy notes and programs providing substance abuse treatment. Jeff recommended making sure to always ask for a release of information, making sure your agency’s release contains the ten elements required by HIPAA and 42 CFR Part 2, and documenting when there is a need for disclosure. A key insight from this session is that there can be non-emergent (though not drug/alcohol related) communication between covered entities for treatment purposes with or without the client’s authorization.

Wayne facilitated a discussion about early successes and barriers to implementing Zero Suicide, based on the 90-day plans that were assigned and completed at the first planning session.  It was exciting to learn of the ground taken by a number of community organizations! Kelley wrapped the session by reiterating the importance of this work to our community and thanking all attendees for their commitment and progress within their organizations. The Louisville Health Advisory Board Behavioral Health committee will be reviewing session notes and action items as they set forth their 2018 goals.

Post authored by members of the LHAB Behavioral Health committee.