Integrating care for behavioral health
Livingston (Mont.) HealthCare has developed an initiative to integrate its behavioral and physical health services, addressing patients’ physical and mental health concerns in one location. With the help of a grant from the Montana Healthcare Foundation, the organization hired and embedded a social worker in its primary care practice, which fosters collaboration between practitioners and streamlines the referral and consultation processes.
Livingston HealthCare also used the grant to screen primary care patients for behavioral health issues, develop treatment protocols to provide medically assisted treatment for patients with chemical dependencies, train emergency department staff with crisis response skills, and hold monthly conferences.
Leaders say behavioral health-related ED visits have dropped within the first six months of the efforts, and that those patients are reporting lower levels of depression and anxiety. In addition, more patients seek out Livingston HealthCare’s behavioral
health services as a result of the program, and the primary care physicians now screen 20 percent of patients for behavioral health issues — up from 3 percent.
Making medications accessible for the aging and chronically ill
Bath Community Hospital in Hot Springs, Va., began a partnership with the Virginia Health Care Foundation, creator of The Pharmacy Connection, to provide prescription medications to chronically ill and uninsured patients. The Pharmacy Connection’s web-based software ultimately helps pharmaceutical companies supply eligible patients with free brand-name medications. This has been crucial as the county contends with a chronically ill and aging population with higher than state and national averages of children living in poverty-stricken homes, and higher incidences of diabetes deaths, heart disease deaths, and chronic lower-respiratory deaths.
The Pharmacy Connection dramatically reduces the administrative time required to complete the application process for these programs, helping more low-income, chronically ill patients get the medications they need to stay healthy. It covers 280 classes of medications, addressing chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, asthma and clinical depression. Since the partnership launched, Bath Community Hospital has assisted 586 patients with 6,186 prescriptions.