The city of Springfield announced it has hired two community health workers to help address problem gambling, nearly a year and a half after the MGM casino opened.
Springfield opened its first office for problem gambling last May, and this week, the health department said it's received a $150,000 state grant to send health workers into neighborhoods.
City health commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris said the money pays for two community health workers, who will be trained in gambling addiction, collect data about who's affected, and connect Springfield residents with treatment.
She said the health workers will coordinate with community clinics that already treat people for substance abuse and other mental health problems.
"Potentially there could be the ability to identify individuals who are already in treatment for other health disparities that are at risk of having problem gambling disorder," she said.
Caulton-Harris said the program is considered a one-year pilot, but she hopes the state will fund it beyond that.