The facade of the new permanent location of the one-stop shop, run by the Indiana State Department of Health and other state and local services, is pictured in Austin on Wednesday afternoon. The location is currently set up to administer various vaccinations as well as help residents obtain identification cards and birth certificates for insurance purposes and to register for health services. The shop will eventually be equipped and staffed for HIV testing and the temporary needle exchange that state officials approved after declaring a public health epidemic last month in response to an HIV outbreak in Scott County. Staff photo by Christopher Fryer
The facade of the new permanent location of the one-stop shop, run by the Indiana State Department of Health and other state and local services, is pictured in Austin on Wednesday afternoon. The location is currently set up to administer various vaccinations as well as help residents obtain identification cards and birth certificates for insurance purposes and to register for health services. The shop will eventually be equipped and staffed for HIV testing and the temporary needle exchange that state officials approved after declaring a public health epidemic last month in response to an HIV outbreak in Scott County. Staff photo by Christopher Fryer
SCOTT COUNTY — A one-stop shop for HIV outbreak-related resources has moved into an Austin community center in Scott County in southeastern Indiana, with a state-ordered needle exchange program coming “as quickly as possible.”

“We’re hoping by the end of the week,” Amy Reel, spokeswoman for the Indiana State Department of Health, said Wednesday.

The needle exchange program and other resources are the result of Gov. Mike Pence’s public health emergency declaration last week, which legalized a needle exchange in Scott County only for 30 days through an executive order.

The station is housed in Futures Unlimited, a physical rehabilitation center at 2277 W. Frontage Road. Residents can get a state-issued identification card, birth certificate, help enrolling in Indiana’s Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0 insurance and vaccinations for Hepatitis A and B and tetanus.

“One of the barriers to care is not having proper identification, so we are trying to remove all barriers to care that we can,” Reel said. “Our goal is to be down here to help people get the services and treatment they need, period.”

Care coordinators are on location to help connect people with necessary resources for insurance and treatment.

State officials, who are operating the one-stop shop, are helping people sign up for a health insurance assistance program that may cover supplemental costs such as co-pays and could also cover treatment costs if they are denied by HIP 2.0.

The shop also has a driver service that will pick residents up in downtown Austin and take them to the one-stop shop, much like a taxi service.

LifeSpring Health Systems, a community health center that treats people with mental illness and substance abuse, is also providing resources to residents who visit the shop.

Reel said the on-site location may also offer free HIV testing in addition to the free clinic locations in Scott County.

Details for the needle exchange program — such as whether training will be required and how many needles will be administered — are still being worked out.

“One of the goals of having the needle exchange here in the building,” Reel said, “is also to get people in to get these other services that are being provided and also to provide them with information that we have available.”

Reel said it’s likely a mobile unit will be operated by local community members.

“ ... The governor’s emergency order empowers community members to enact the needle exchange program,” she said.

There’s a possibility Pence may extend the executive order another 30 days.

“That’s going to be evaluated based on the need at the time,” Reel said.

Until then, law enforcement officials will not arrest residents for possession of paraphernalia or syringes.

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