Memorial Healthcare System Awarded Federal Grant To Provide Behavioral And Primary Healthcare Under 'One-Stop' Clinic

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Services will benefit adults with both physical and behavioral health issues who usually experience greater morbidity and mortality than those in the general population that do not have these co-occuring medical issues

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"The Mind/Body Wellness Project and the Telepsychiatry will increase the access to a full range of medical care for patients. It will help improve coordination of care among providers,” said the center’s medical director, Clara Alvarez-Villalba, MD

Memorial Healthcare System is now providing residents in South Broward with integrated primary and behavioral healthcare under the same roof as part of a federally and county funded grant aimed at delivering personalized treatment plans for patients.

The Mind/Body Wellness Project – administered by Memorial Outpatient Behavioral Health Center and South Broward Community Health Services– will form a Core Team that provides the services at its newly expanded outpatient clinic located in Hollywood, Florida.

The program is funded through a federal grant obtained from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) and from the Broward County Department of Human Services and the Board of County Commissioners of Broward County, Florida.

It will provide for a dedicated nurse practitioner, an RN Care Coordinator, a Medical Assistant, an Integrated Care Manager/Social Worker, a Peer Wellness Coach and a Psychiatric Pharmacy Resident.

The resources and personnel provided by the grant is now in addition to the center’s established multidisciplinary and multicultural team of licensed psychiatrists, advanced registered nurse practitioners, licensed psychotherapists and certified peer support specialists who use effective evidence-based approaches to help patients achieve their goals.

“Logistically, The Mind/Body Wellness Project and the Telepsychiatry will increase the access to a full range of medical care for patients. It will help improve coordination of care among providers,” said the center’s medical director, Clara Alvarez-Villalba, MD.

The services are being provided at the Center for Behavioral Health, 3400 N. 29th Avenue, Hollywood, Florida. Additional clinical rooms have already been constructed and are now fully operational.

Additional services will include nutritional services, exercise classes, smoking cessation and chronic disease self-management support. Each ancillary program is evidence-based and targets behavioral changes toward promoting health outcomes of the patient, Dr. Alvarez-Villalba said.

As part of this initiative, telepsychiatry units will be installed at two South Broward Community Health Centers and one at Memorial Outpatient Behavioral Health Center so patients will be able to access behavioral health providers via video as part of their primary care visit.

Project director David Freedman said having a clinic that provides both mental and physical healthcare will benefit patients who often seek help in one area, but not both.

“While mental disorders including substance use issues are common in the United States, the burden of chronic illness is particularly concentrated among these patients,” Freedman said.

Adults with both physical and behavioral health issues experience greater morbidity and mortality than those in the general population that do not have these co-occuring medical issues, Freedman said.

Under the program, the Core Team will meet weekly to develop, oversee and manage a personalized treatment plan for each patient.

Patients’ disease specific improvements will be evaluated initially to establish a baseline followed by six-month measurements of blood pressure, body/mass index, waist circumference, breath CO, plasma glucose, HgA1c, HDL and LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Mental health symptom reduction and sobriety over time will be monitored as well.

For more information about the program, call (954) 276-3455.

About Memorial Healthcare System’s Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services

The mental health professionals at Memorial Behavioral Health Services provide comprehensive psychiatric and psychotherapy services designed to get individuals on the road to psychological well-being. Innovative evidence based programs are available for both adults and children through a variety of inpatient and outpatient programs, and treatment plans are tailored to meet the specific needs of each patient.

Various grant-funded programs are offered at Memorial Behavioral Health Services including the Rebel's Drop-In Center, a peer-run outpatient program that operates in partnership with the Broward County Department of Human Services and the Broward Behavioral Health Coaliton/ Florida Department of Children and Families. Memorial Behavioral Health Services also receives Ryan White funding and offers HIV support through psychiatric evaluation and medication management, individual counseling, intensive substance abuse outpatient services, mental health counseling and ambulatory (outpatient) detoxification.

Additional funding for substance abuse treatment is made available through the Broward Behavioral Health Coalition/FL Department of Children and Families. Memorial Behavioral Health Services accepts many health care and managed care plans, including Medicare and Medicaid. Self-paying patients are also welcomed.

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Geo Rodriguez
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