A private, non-profit, primary care medical home in Denver serving low-income underserved individuals began offering limited behavioral health services as an adjunct to its other services. They had access to an adjacent building, and requested a community needs assessment to determine if there was support for expanding behavioral health services in Denver. If the assessment identified a need for additional services, Newpoint would develop an implementation and financial plan for the proposed services.
Barbara Ladon and Dr. Ed Ladon managed the Newpoint engagement to perform an internal and external needs assessment to expand behavioral health services. We conducted community interviews with representatives of state agencies, the community mental health center, other safety net clinics offering integrated care, the BHO and RCCO and community foundations. Internally, we interviewed senior clinical and administrative staff, MAs, behavioral health staff, and support staff to understand current challenges and the client population being served. Newpoint consultants analyzed public health, community needs data, and clinic financial and utilization reports. After collating the results, we facilitated strategic meetings with senior staff to share findings and develop a shared vision for the future.
The assessment demonstrated a need for expanded behavioral services to serve clients with moderate behavioral health issues and medical/dental clients with comorbidity. Over a period of time, during which we facilitated leadership discussions on future strategy and business options, clinic management moved away from its initial plan and embraced a model that supports an integrated primary care approach.
The clinic has embarked on an enterprise-wide effort to incrementally move toward an integrated care model. They sought and received funding for additional staff and for funding from the Colorado Health Foundation through its Team Based Care Grant; obtained technical assistance from the Colorado safety-net clinic association; and are exploring the availability of graduate students to increase capacity. Dr. Ladon is providing ongoing consultation on Brief Therapy and behavioral health consultation in the primary care setting. He will continue to offer in-service training to primary care staff initially focused on “Agitated and Seriously Disturbed Patients” and will support the behavioral health team as clinic services are expanded.