Health care delivery is changing fast! To keep up with rapid changes, Families Plus has embarked on a project to develop a rural model for integrating behavioral health care and medical care. Families Plus employs eight behavioral health care professionals, some full-time and some part-time. Starting in October 2015, two of these professionals will be working alongside physicians and mid-level medical providers at DCMH Family Medicine in Delta to address behavioral health concerns of the patients.
Brief behavioral treatment will be offered in this clinic along with referral assistance for patients choosing longer treatments or community behavioral providers. Preparations under the leadership of Diane Dockter, clinic manager, and Brenda Holland, Ph.D. psychologist of Families Plus, have been underway since May to develop integrated health records and integrated billing systems as far as possible. To develop smoothly operating coordinated systems, Susan Simianer M.A., professional counselor, and Betsy Nordstrom, M.A., licensed professional counselor, both of Families Plus, are working alongside Ryan Marlin, MD, Mandy Swanson, MD, Julie Mixter, MD, Bruce Mixter, MD, Gina Martin, MD, Susan Bright, MD, Birgitt Schmalz, certified nurse practitioner, and Adam Truitt, physician's assistant.
Patients can expect that DCMH Family Medicine will be alert to behavioral health situations that might affect the patient's overall health and helping develop plans for creating maximal overall health. The model of health care delivery developed will be used at Stoney Mesa Family Practice also in 2016. Under the Rural Health Services Outreach grant, the federal government is hoping to use lessons learned during integration in Delta County to help other rural communities to also achieve integrated health care.