Centerstone provides details on local services

Centerstone served more than 3,000 Bartholomew County residents last year, most for locally provided mental health services for low-income residents.

Centerstone’s chief administrative officer, Shirley Arney, gave a short presentation to the Bartholomew County Council last week to talk about how money from the county is being used to care for its indigent.

The agency was paid $590,039 in 2017 to provide mental health services for the county’s indigent, an expense that increased 4 percent to $613,641 this year.

When allocating the money for Centerstone, the council had requested more accountability about what taxpayers were getting for their contribution to the agency. Council members also asked that Centerstone provide specific statistics for local Centerstone services, rather than numbers pertaining to all 60 Centerstone facilities in Indiana.

Key points in Arney’s 2017 report to the county council included:

3,348 Bartholomew County residents were served by Centerstone last year. Of that total, 81 percent were adults and 19 percent were age 17 and younger.

73 percent of locally provided services were primarily for treating mental health issues, while 27 percent were primarily for addressing substance abuse problems. Several clients needed treatment in both areas.

54 percent of Centerstone’s local clients — which the provider defines as “consumers” — have incomes under 200 percent of the poverty level. The rest either earn more than that or have unknown income levels.

About $265,000 in charity work was provided locally last year by Centerstone.

Nearly $12.5 million was paid out for personnel and operational expenses in Bartholomew County. A variety of funding sources, including $3.6 million from a Medicaid program, was also cited.

Arney said Centerstone, 720 N. Marr Road, also is directly involved in 16 Columbus community initiatives, and participates in 11 others.

When opening the session up for questions from the council, many were directed at Anna Hilycord, manager of Centerstone’s Adult and Family services.

Hilycord has been named as one of the leaders in developing a central hub for the Alliance for Substance Abuse Progress in Bartholomew County, an organization that is preparing a community-wide plan to attack the opioid addiction crisis in Bartholomew County.

Centerstone has acquired two grants to bolster addiction treatment programs, and it purchased a building in the Columbus AirPark late last year as a possible location for a medical-addictions treatment program.

The 4,519-square-foot building, built in 1994, was originally used as a group home for youth and operated by George Junior Republic, an agency based in Pennsylvania working on behalf of at-risk youth.

“We have sorely missed residential services for addiction treatment,” Arney said.

The possibility and need for an in-patient, opioid-addiction treatment center has been mentioned in ASAP’s plans. Those plans are expected to be revealed at an ASAP community progress report at 6 p.m. April 25 at The Commons.

Hilycord said she has recently accompanied Circuit Court Judge Kelly Benjamin on research trips involving the expected creation of a drug court as part of the ASAP effort. She also discussed challenges in treating Bartholomew County Jail inmates with opioid addictions.

About Centerstone

Centerstone Behavioral Health, a nonprofit organization, has provided a wide range of mental health, substance abuse, education and integrated health services to Indiana residents for 60 years.

Through more than 60 facilities in 17 Indiana counties, including Bartholomew, Centerstone serves about 25,000 children, adolescents, adults and seniors each year. 

For more information about Centerstone, call 800-344-8802 or visit

Author photo
Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at or 812-379-5636.