Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. — 43.8 million, or 18.5% — experiences behavioral health issues in a given year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Locally in Nebraska, over 17% of adults experience mental illness, which translates to approximately 325,000 adults affected by some type of mental illness in a given year. This data was reported in the Nebraska Behavioral Health Needs Assessment. As a society, we are becoming better at discussing our mental and behavioral health, however, there are still stigmas surrounding behavioral healthcare treatment.
Bluestem Health takes an integrated approach to your health. The Medical and Behavioral Health providers at Bluestem Health in Lincoln are passionate about helping people who suffer from behavioral health issues. They understand how mental health plays an important role in maintaining a healthy mind, body, and spirit.
What Is Integrated Care?
During the past few years, Bluestem Health has been implementing an integrated care model of medicine that allows for Mental Health and Psychiatric providers to work within the primary care setting. The integrated care model has been promoted as a potential solution for increasing access to behavioral healthcare as noted in the Nebraska Behavioral Health Assessment. This approach holds great promise for increasing access to behavioral health treatment and more positive outcomes. “While there needs to be a continuing effort to recruit and retain behavioral health specialists in rural communities, these new approaches should be implemented broadly in Nebraska. Also, from the perspective of prevention and management of chronic medical conditions, integrated care can help reduce the burden of these illnesses, prolong life expectancy, and improve the quality of life for consumers,” according to the authors of the Nebraska Behavioral Health Assessment, 2016.
Our Behavioral Health team also includes Behavioral Health Consultants, licensed clinical social workers, and licensed mental health professionals who see patients for counseling and support, and help with patient care plans and assessment of the patient's needs throughout their care at Bluestem Health. Working in this model with primary care providers, our behavioral health team is consulted to assist with the assessment and treatment of patients in need of mental health services. At times, this may entail collaboration and discussion with primary care providers and behavioral health consultants only to establish or update patient care plans. At other times, they may meet with a patient face-to-face in a clinic setting to gather more information and/or discuss treatment options with the patient and their family.
Our Behavioral Health team is continually collaborating with the patient's primary care provider who oversees the patient's overall healthcare and treatment plan. According to Heather Nielsen, APRN-PMHNP, "I'm excited about the new care model as I feel I can make a bigger impact and be more involved in developing care plans for our patients.”
Coordination and Access To Care
One of the greatest challenges the Bluestem Behavioral Health team faces is coordinating care and making sure patients have access to all the services they need. Due to fragmented healthcare over the years, patients have encountered difficulty in receiving required services, such as access to local resources and therapy services, filling medications regularly, and needed medical care that affects patient outcomes. These gaps in care are exactly what an integrated care model of healthcare helps to prevent. "Through our integrated model, we are able to streamline the process much better for our patients and to provide all aspects of care here or in collaboration with our community partners," Heather adds. "I really like that Bluestem Health makes such an effort to make sure each person receives the care they need."
Whole-person healthcare is Bluestem Health’s passion. Our Behavioral Health team allows us to treat psychiatric concerns with primary care providers and behavioral consultants in a team-based approach, and are able to better connect all areas of health in a person’s life.
The Bluestem Health clinics have dedicated providers that are ready to serve you. For more information visit us at bluestemlincoln.com.