Thanks to an $876,000 grant from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, patients at the Downtown Health Plaza (DHP) of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center will have access to expanded integrated mental health services.
An estimated 50 percent of the 18,000 patients who visit DHP each year either have a documented mental illness or would benefit from being evaluated for behavioral health issues.
Under the new integrated structure, each DHP patient will receive a behavioral assessment. Through this enhanced access, diagnosis and treatment of mental health issues, the integration is expected to improve care for 9,000 patients who otherwise would not receive this level of coordinated care.
Similar integrated care programs across the country have demonstrated notable success with this model. In North Carolina, a program piloted at the Buncombe County Health Center saw significant positive outcomes within eight months: depression levels declined, function test scores rose and fewer school and work days were missed for emotional reasons.
Rahn Bailey, M.D., the newly appointed Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at Wake Forest Baptist said this new level of service is crucial in the community, “By making use of best practices in organizational collaboration, the integration of mental health services at DHP will demonstrate a new model for caring for the health of the most complex and vulnerable populations.”
Bailey is nationally known for his work in inpatient care, medical education, research and forensic evaluations and has extensive experience creating and overseeing community-based programs that focus on care for the traditionally underserved and patients with complex medical/psychiatric co-morbid diagnoses and conditions. Bailey joined Wake Forest Baptist as chair on Monday, Jan. 12, 2015.
The integrated care system will add four licensed behaviorists, a community health worker and a project coordinator allowing for a team-based approach where primary care providers coordinate with behaviorists to offer critical diagnosis and treatment previously inaccessible to many DHP patients.
“The integrated care model will also ease the burden on patients and families who struggle to find the time and means to access primary care and improve patient self-management and treatment effectiveness,” said Bailey. “Community health workers will collaborate with behaviorists and visit patients in their homes, homeless shelters and other locations to assess the total care needs of patients and their families.”
DHP makes use of existing community behavioral health services by co-locating its resources at CareNet Counseling, CenterPoint Human Services, Forsyth County Department of Public Health and The Children’s Home. DHP provides primary and specialty health care to the medically underserved of Forsyth County and 19 surrounding counties.
Established in 1947, the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust is one of the largest private trusts in North Carolina. Its mission is to improve the quality of life and health of the financially needy of North Carolina. Through its Health Care Division, the Trust promotes wellness statewide by investing in prevention and treatment, and through its Poor and Needy Division, it responds to basic-life needs. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. serves as sole trustee.
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