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Nicholas Thomas

Introducing an Integrated Care Culture? We Can Help

April 19, 2019 | Mental Health Treatment | Comments
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According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), individuals with behavioral health needs may die decades earlier than those without, largely due to untreated and preventable physical, chronic illnesses like diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.

Integrating primary and behavioral health care helps people with complex health conditions receive the comprehensive treatment they need to guide them to health and recovery. But for integrated care to be successful, providers and their staff must invest in it fully. Organizations can use the National Council’s Case to Care Management Training to get started down the path to integrated care.

When Ruth Morgan, M.D., a family medical specialist at The Center for Health Care Services in Bexar County, Texas, sought to introduce an integrated care culture into the workplace, her first challenge was educating the staff to respond to the changes in their approach to care.

“We wanted our workforce to address and bridge the gap between medical and mental health – including substance use – in their plans,” said Dr. Morgan. “We were having a difficult time creating a cultural shift to embrace integrated care. A large part of our issue was a lack of knowledge regarding what integrated care was and how it could be beneficial to patients.”

Dr. Morgan turned to the National Council’s training to help her case managers understand and introduce interventions for the common health problems of people with behavioral health challenges. “After learning about the case-to-care management training, we wanted to educate our staff about the role it could play in helping us improve patient outcomes,” she said.

The onsite course taught Dr. Morgan and her team how to transition to an integrated care culture – from conceptualizing the framework for change and building strong partnerships with primary care providers, to identifying and applying strategies to help people change their health behavior.

“Seeing the thirst for knowledge our staff and workforce had for the training was wonderful. They were eager to learn how to further benefit their clients’ needs,” said Dr. Morgan, who shared her case-to-care lessons learned during NatCon19, the largest conference in behavioral health. “We plan on continuing this training once a year as we onboard new workforce members.”

Since participating in the one-day, in-person training, Dr. Morgan and her team have seen an increase in referrals to primary care. What’s more, they have exceeded several screening goals, including abnormal BMI, high blood pressure in people with diabetes and substance use problems in psychological patients.

“The training has reinforced the importance of our integrated care plan,” said Dr. Morgan. “We were recently awarded a SAMSHA grant to help us become a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic. I believe the training helped us position and prepare our organization to embrace this new model.”

Interested in bringing a customized case-to-care training to your organization? Contact us today!