Partnerships Formed to Integrate Primary and Behavioral Healthcare

October 1st, 2009

David Lawrence Center and Collier Health Services, Inc., a not-for-profit community health center that primarily provides medical and dental care to at-risk children and adults, have been selected as one of five sites nationally to participate in the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare’s Primary Care-Behavioral Health Collaborative Project. The training will use the Collaborative Model which emphasizes rapid cycle improvements, evidence-based practices and data collection to improve outcomes for populations served through partnerships between community behavioral health and primary care providers.

The project is designed to help participating behavioral health organizations establish mutually beneficial relationships with their community primary care organizations, learn how to obtain increased referrals from primary care, create a structure that ensures collaborative care for shared patients, and increase access to primary care services for persons with mental illness. The goal is to increase the ability of primary care clinics to screen for depression, bipolar disorder, substance abuse and suicide risk and to develop a system of ongoing collaboration between mental health and primary care providers in order to improve access to care.

Medical Director Brent Lovett, MD, states, “David Lawrence Center is extremely excited about this opportunity to collaborate with Collier Health Services on this nationally recognized training program in order to explore the opportunities of launching integrated primary care and behavioral health care in Collier County. This effort could bring tremendous benefits to those underserved children and adults in our community who lack appropriate access to mental health care.”

The project will allow a total of five medical and clinical staff members between the two organizations to participate in a year long intensive training opportunity with nationally recognized mental health and primary care experts. During the year, participants will receive 50+ hours of expert consulting, peer-to-peer learning opportunities and a range of tools and techniques to overcome clinical, financial, cultural and communication barriers to providing comprehensive healthcare for their patients.

Collier Health Services Director of Professional Services William Kuzbyt, Psy.D., added, “We are very pleased to have been accepted into this program and look forward to continuing to work with the staff at David Lawrence Center on integrating primary care with behavioral health. It is very clear that an integrated model of treatment leads to the best outcomes for our patients.”

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