"If we go beyond our own facilities, we will probably go to churches and senior centers," says Labbe.
JPS is not the only organization in Texas waiting on the feds. East Texas Behavioral Health Network (ETBHN), a consortium of 11 community organizations across 75 counties that serves chronic and severe mentally ill patients as well as people with developmental disabilities, received the state's second largest Navigator grant—$1.3 million. But, it still hasn't been able to fully staff its centers.
"We had a tough time filling positions," says Gary Bramlett, executive director at ETBHN.
Bramlett says he's been able to hire 16 navigators so far. He plans on hiring 24, which would put two navigators at each of the 11 centers, plus two lead navigators in different regions of the state to collect data and act as a resource for the other navigators.
Of the 16 who have been hired, a little over a handful are out in the community helping patients enroll.
"Seven are fully trained," he says. "The rest are in the process and almost finished with their training."