- California: Under an initiative launching this month, nurses are partnering with Sacramento-area health leaders to provide no-cost health education to residents of a city-designated "promise zone" of primarily low-income neighborhoods. The neighborhoods are slated to receive federal funding over the next 10 years for health and education efforts. And as of this month, residents will also be able to receive no-cost education on diabetes, prenatal care, and healthy life choices. The nurses participating in the program are all employees at Kaiser Permanente and students at Samuel Merritt University, which paired them with eligible health organizations—including La Familia, the Health Education Council, WellSpace Health, and Urban Strategies—to provide the health education classes as part of their coursework this semester (Caiola, Sacramento Bee, 1/6).
- Florida: Health systems in the state are working to accommodate seasonal influxes of patients as more people in the North travel south after retirement—a trend that West Florida Healthcare and Baptist Health Care say spurs a 10 percent increase in the number of patients seeking care at the organization's respective facilities over the winter months. For instance, West Florida Healthcare established the Perdido Bay Emergency Room, a $10 million freestanding ED. Frank Lauro, medical director of the health system, said he recommends that snowbirds establish care options and ensure family members can communicate with providers because "the key is the coordination of care" (Baucum, Pensacola News Journal, 1/8)
- Tennessee: A new jail under construction in Davidson County will have a stand-alone facility, slated to open in 2018, to provide behavioral health care to inmates. Officials have allocated $10 million of the jail's $133 million construction budget for the facility, which will be the first of its kind in the nation. The facility will include 64 rooms for individuals who have committed misdemeanor crimes and also have a mental health issue. Sheriff Daron Hall said, "Our goal is to bring that person off the streets and treat the illness, and then release them into what is the community health system, where they won't be a problem for the criminal justice system" (Sherman, WKRN, 1/4).
Six steps to integrate behavioral health with other care
Behavioral health issues can exacerbate other health conditions and make patients less likely to comply with important care plan aspects. Since most patients are diagnosed in the primary care setting, integrated behavioral health models can ensure patients follow through with referrals to mental health care.
Download our toolkit to find resources to effectively address six critical components of an integrated behavioral health program.