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PLATTSBURGH — The Mother Cabrini Health Foundation has awarded Behavioral Health Services North Inc. a $195,334 grant to better equip the agency to help people with special needs.

In particular, the funding is geared toward assisting adults with serious mental illness and children with a serious emotional disturbance as part of the Clinton County Behavioral Health Improvement Project, a press release said.

“We are fortunate to have been chosen for this award and given the ability to further improve health outcomes for the individuals we serve and support employees who want to further their education and improve their skill sets in the North Country,” BHSN Chief People and Quality Officer Shawn Sabella said in a statement.


The grant application was a two-step process, Sabella said, where potential applicants first submitted initial letters of inquiry in May 2019.

Following a review of about 1,000 responses, applicants with proposals consistent with the foundation’s intent were invited to submit a grant application in August.

According to its website, the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation “provides grants to improve the health and well-being of vulnerable New Yorkers, bolster the health outcomes of diverse communities, eliminate barriers to care and bridge gaps in health services.”

“We are honored to support such a wide range of organizations doing critically important work to improve the health and well-being of New York’s most vulnerable communities,” Visa CEO and Mother Cabrini Health Foundation  Board Chair Alfred F. Kelly Jr. said in a statement.


The funding supports the “quadruple aim” of “improving health outcomes, reducing the cost of care, creating a better client experience and developing the behavioral health workforce,” the press release said.

More than 70 percent of the adults and children targeted by the funding are low-income and have met financial criteria to qualify for Medicaid insurance.

“In addition, the project targets individuals with medical issues, which occur in 68 percent of adults with mental illness according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association,” according to the release.

It is expected that 1,250 individuals will be served by the project in 2020.


The Mother Cabrini award will support workforce development in the form of tuition reimbursement for BHSN’s employees, including registered nurses and master-level social workers, the release said.

“These funds are crucial in helping individuals further their education within the North Country regional economy.”

The funds also went toward hiring a full-time licensed practical nurse, or LPN, who will focus on improving client health outcomes.

Additionally, the award has enabled technology upgrades for more efficient and thorough client data collection.

— Staff Writer Cara Chapman of the Press Republican contributed to this report