Behavioral Healthcare Integration


Integration of primary care and behavioral health care
should be at the same site. One of the things that we’re trying to do is really increasingly
integrate a broader array of behavioral health services. You know, the Affordable Care Act
right now is providing a great opportunity for our staple [inaudible] to integrate into
health care overall. And I think SAMHSA is poised right now in that position right now
in that position to help lead that particular effort and is actually thinking about their
health and wellness, all aspects of it from the mindset that healthcare is fully part
of that individual’s experiences as a human being. That’s really, really an important
message to get people to think about behavioral health as part of healthcare instead of something
that is really more about a social problem or a social issue, but that’s really about
health and healthcare. We need to look at people holistically. We need not only to look
at the lack of illness, we need to look at wellness. We need to look at all these different
components, home, health, purpose. When we think about the whole person, we’re thinking
about someone’s — the connection of their head, their body, as well as who they are
within their community and who they are as a person. I think integrative care means we’re
looking at the individual as a complete being and the spectrum in which they operate, where
they go to school, who they work for, who their family is, and how they interact with
their society and community. How to change practice from having separate, isolated behavioral
health systems from primary care systems. They will now operate what is known as a quote,
“demonstration” program at the local level to show how we can integrate primary
care and behavioral health. You know, we’ve always felt like we did a really good job
with an integrated care model, but we’re using technology today. We’ve adopted an electronic
medical record that we’re sharing between the medical team and the behavioral health
team, so really trying to make sure that anybody that sees one of our patients that walks in
the door has all the information that they need to give them the best care possible.
And this is really an example of the idyllic one-stop shopping and, really, in a sense
of being part of the community, and the community embraces the clinic. And people can come here
for the type of care that they need when they need it. And that’s really the core of the
place. So we’re, in this region, seeing lots of examples of innovative and integrated approaches
to healthcare. You know, people talk a lot about what it means to have holistic care,
but we really have holistic care for clients where it is a one-stop shop because we have
our pharmacy and we have our clinic. And we’re able to do work for clients that we wouldn’t
be able to do if we didn’t have the clinic here. You had wellness services. You had facilities
like a gymnasium where people could work out and stay physically fit. On the same campus,
there was housing available to support people who were embarking on a life in recovery.
And there’s going to be a day when we don’t say health and behavioral health, but when
we say health, everybody knows that means behavioral health.

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