By CONCORD HOSPITAL
Published on February 16, 2016
In 2015, Concord Hospital and Riverbend Community Mental Health led a crucial change in health care by integrating behavioral health into primary care provider practices. This evidenced-based approach was modeled, in part, on one that Concord Hospital Family Health Center has had in place since its founding in 1995.
A study this year showed that the top 20 patients with the highest healthcare costs at Concord Hospital all had behavioral health diagnoses, indicating that unless behavioral health issues are treated effectively, it is likely that the patient’s overall health will suffer and cost-of-care will be high. For instance, patients diagnosed with major depression generally are not going to exercise and are more likely to eat unhealthy food, smoke, drink or take drugs – all of which lead to poor health.
“I believe we’ll show that if you are providing behavioral health services that are combined with physical health services, you will have outcomes that will keep people out of the Emergency Department and out of higher levels of care.”
~ Peter Evers, Vice President of Behavioral Health, Concord Hospital and Chief Executive Officer, Riverbend Community Mental Health, Inc.
Cherokee Health Systems of Tennessee, a nationally recognized integrated behavioral health leader, was retained by the State to consult and make recommendations about how advanced New Hampshire is in making behavioral health specialists full partners in provider practices. The recommendations reflect exactly what Concord Hospital and Riverbend Community Mental Health embarked on in February 2015.
Thanks to a grant from Concord Hospital Trust, Riverbend placed two part-time behavioral health clinicians in Concord Hospital Medical Group Concord Family Medicine and the Pelvic Medicine, Continence and Sexual Health Program at Concord Hospital Center for Urologic Care.
The clinicians are able to immediately respond to the needs of the providers and patients – notably, joint meetings with medical patients who also are faced with issues such as homelessness, depression, domestic violence, child welfare or therapy referrals.
Riverbend hopes to extend the integrated behavioral health model to nine Concord Hospital Medical Group practices in the coming year.