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The Otis R. Bowen Center for Human Services, Inc., is a private not-for-profit, comprehensive community mental health center licensed by the State of Indiana Division of Mental Health. The Center has been accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) since 1980. Bowen Center earned JCAHO accreditation with commendation for 1994-1997 and again for 1997-2000. The Center provides quality professional mental health services to citizens in northeast Indiana primarily, but not only, in Huntington, Kosciusko, Marshall, Wabash and Whitley counties.
The Bowen Center has a 15-member volunteer Board of Directors consisting of three citizens representing each of the five counties primarily served.
The Center began professional operation March 1, 1961, as the Four County Mental Health Clinic, offering outpatient psychiatric care to residents of Kosciusko, Marshall, Wabash and Whitley counties. The first offices were located at 526 East Winona Avenue in Warsaw and the staff consisted of a part-time psychiatrist, a full-time psychologist, a full-time psychiatric social worker and a full-time secretary. Claude B. Given was appointed administrator of the Clinic. The operating budget for the first year was $35,000, with 50% of the funds provided by the Indiana Department of Mental Health and the other half in matching funds from the four counties and patient revenues.
In April, 1962, the Clinic was moved to a two-story, 80-year-old house at 315 West Center Street in Warsaw. In March, 1969, Huntington County was added to the service area and the name was changed to the Five County Mental Health Clinic. Frank Hogle, M.D., served as administrator from August, 1966 to July, 1968, when William Kurosky became acting administrator. In 1973, the Clinic again outgrew its facility and moved to larger quarters on South Buffalo Street in Warsaw. Ben H. Knott, Ph.D., became administrator in March of that year and the staff numbered twenty-three.
Because of the need for increased service to the five-county area, offices were opened in each of the counties: Marshall County (Plymouth) in July, 1973; Huntington County (Huntington) in September, 1973; Wabash County (Wabash) in October, 1973; Whitley County (Columbia City) in March, 1974. When the county offices first opened, they were staffed only one day each week. At the present time, each county office has its own clinical and support staff.
The Center's board, administration and staff began planning for construction of new facilities and program development to qualify as a federally funded and recognized mental health center. Ground was broken
in August, 1976, for the inpatient and outpatient facilities in Warsaw. The building was completed in 1978 and dedicated the same year. By that time, the staff had increased to sixty.
At a special meeting of the Board of Directors on June 15, 1977, the name was changed to The Otis R. Bowen Center for Human Services, Inc., in honor of Governor Otis R. Bowen, M.D., a native of the Center's service area (Bremen in Marshall County) and a major supporter of the community mental health center system in Indiana. As a point of interest, Dr. Bowen was a practicing physician in the area . . . before entering state politics. In 1985, President Ronald Reagan appointed Dr. Bowen to serve as the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services. He was the first physician to fill that position.
The Center received official recognition as a mental health center by the Indiana Department of Mental Health in July, 1977, and was successful in receiving a federal operations grant. With the expansion of services, the number of staff increased to 125 in 1980-1981. The residential program for adult chronically mentally ill clients was begun with the opening of Russell House in Plymouth in October, 1980.
In September, 1981, Dr. Knott resigned as Chief Executive Officer and William Kurosky again assumed the duties of Acting Chief Executive Officer until his death in February, 1982. James McIntosh, Ph.D., served as Acting Chief Executive Officer from February, 1982, until July of that year when Daniel D. Steiner became the new Chief Executive Officer.
With Mr. Steiner's retirement in February, 1989, the Center operated under a four-member Management Team until Kurt Carlson was hired as the new Chief Executive Officer in June, 1989.
The Center opened a private practice office, named Life Management Associates, in Warsaw in February, 1990, to accommodate full-fee clients who wished a more private treatment setting. When the strategic advantage of this office was no longer necessary, the office was closed during FY '94 and staff were deployed to other Center offices.
During 1992, the free-standing 21-bed primarily adult psychiatric inpatient unit operated by the Center was reduced to sixteen beds to take advantage of Medicaid funding opportunities for adult patients.
The Center's efforts to stay viable in the era of rapid behavioral healthcare financing changes led to the development of many Employee Assistance Program (EAP) contracts and contracts with managed care companies as a preferred provider in the region.
During February, 1993, the old eight-bed Russell House was replaced with a new ten-bed facility in Plymouth to serve chronically mentally ill adults. The new facility was constructed through a HUD Section 811 building grant and is also named Russell House. The old facility was razed to provide extended parking for our adjacent office building.
During 1995, Bowen Center constructed a HUD section 811 funded 21-unit apartment building for chronically mentally ill adult clients in Warsaw, Indiana. Named for Lawrence J. Castaldi of Kosciusko County
and John S. Wilson, M.D. of Whitley County, two of the founding members of the Center, the Wilson/Castaldi Apartments were dedicated in October, 1995, and occupied that same month.
During 1995, the Brief Therapy Institute was created, not only to emphasize Bowen Center's clinical commitment to brief therapy, but also to create a sub-division of the Center through which consultation for fee and intensive training events for practitioners outside of the Center could be arranged.
Enrollment of clients in the "Hoosier Assurance Plan" (HAP), a mental health managed care plan created by the Indiana Division of Mental Health through legislation began July, 1996. This was the first phase of transition from traditional DMH "deficit" funding to a managed care model.
Bowen Center was a founding member of Addiction Services Providers of Indiana (ASPIN). ASPIN was created in 1996 as a partnership between selected behavioral health centers and Koala hospitals to form a behavioral health managed care network. The network continues to expand as more behavioral health centers join for strategic reasons.
During 1996, Bowen Center purchased a house located on Center Street in Warsaw and made modifications to comply with ADA guidelines and building codes for use as a staff office for staff from the Acute/Chronic Care Division.
Late in 1997, Bowen Center opened an office in Fort Wayne, Indiana to provide limited outpatient services in support of the school-based programs the Center operates in many of the grade schools in Fort Wayne.
The corporate office was expanded and space reorganized to accommodate growth in clinical services during 1997 and 1998.
Construction of the new and larger Plymouth office was completed in 1998. The old office is still being used for specific community-based programs.
The Center's current staff (approximately 491 total FTEs) consists of M.D. psychiatrists, Ph.D. psychologists, MSW and ACSW social workers, master's and bachelor's level therapists, chemical dependency therapists, registered nurses, mental health technicians, administrative and support personnel.
The Bowen Center, rural in composition, historically and currently recognizes its responsibilities and commitment to all geographic segments of its service area. This commitment has translated into the decentralization of many services to the fullest extent possible in light of the Center's capital, fiscal and staffing resources. The administrative office and inpatient facility are located in Warsaw (Kosciusko County). County offices provide outpatient and emergency services, with other specialized services offered depending on the need at each location. No resident is further than a 20 minute drive to a county office of the Center. For clients unable to drive, the Center provides limited transportation services through the use of a volunteer program.
As a comprehensive community mental health center, Bowen Center offers a wide variety of mental health services.