Effects of Cuts in Funding for the Graduate Psychology Education Program in Rural Communities
The elimination of GPE funding means that integrated training of psychologists with physicians, nurses, and pharmacists as well as mental health services to older persons through the Capstone Rural Health Center in Parrish, Alabama will no longer be possible. More specifically, low income African American elderly will not have access to critically needed psychotherapy for depression and neuropsychological assessments to determine competency. In addition, psychology trainees on interdisciplinary teams at the Whatley Health Center in Oakman, Alabama will no longer be able to provide counseling on fall prevention, memory, nutrition and maintaining mental and physical health aging.
In rural Florida the elimination of GPE funding means that residents of an assisted living facility in the Tampa Bay area will not have access to psychological services provided by post-doctoral psychology fellows. Also, a rural community health clinic (serving impoverished adults of all ages) just outside the Tampa Bay area will not have access to a post-doctoral fellow to address the multiple needs of clients with mental health problems. In addition, a Miami-based Teaching Nursing Home will no longer have access to post-doctoral fellows to assist with research and other projects aimed at improving the mental health of Florida nursing home residents.
Montana and South Dakota
The loss of GPE funding will result in the elimination of mental health services by the VA Black Hills Health Care System to indigent elderly, primarily Native Americans, in outpatient facilities in Ashland, Montana and Eagle Butte, South Dakota and those planned for Bismarck, North Dakota. In addition, the mental health services provided to all veterans who are disabled, elderly and dying at the VA Inpatient facility will be terminated. These meaningful partnerships with rural and reservation communities to provide desperately need services will be lost.
Loss of GPE funding means that critically needed psychological services to persons with disabilities, especially in rural areas where there is a greater level of poverty and poor health overall, will be halted. Psychology interns who are currently providing services at the Missouri Rehabilitation Center (MRC), a 135 bed rehabilitation unit in the most rural part of SW Missouri, will be no more. Yet, the need is so great at MRC that they actually provide FREE housing for these trainees. It will also not be possible for psychology interns to provide services at the Rusk Rehabilitation Center, a 60 bed rehabilitation hospital that serves 68% of its patients from rural Central Missouri (Rolla, Kirksville, Hannibal, Sedalia). Without GPE funded interns, the ability to provide services to vulnerable disabled clients will be cut by 50 percent.