One of the country’s leading behavioral health medical group and one of the nation’s largest faith-based health systems recently announced they are joining forces.
Concert Health and AdventHealth announced a partnership earlier this month that will deliver Collaborative Care, an evidence-based model, to identify and treat patients with behavioral health needs within the primary care setting. The partnership will give patients at AdventHealth’s 100 providers in the Tampa, Florida, and Hendersonville, North Carolina, regions with same-day access to critical treatment for behavioral health conditions such as anxiety and depression.
Penny Johnson, president and CEO for the Southwest Region of AdventHealth, said in a news release the model being used is a “clinically proven way to integrate behavioral health into primary care” to improve behavioral health screening, access and eventual outcomes for the company’s patients.
“We are facing a mental health crisis. Our providers are seeing patients of all ages who are struggling with anxiety and depression and often don’t know where to turn. For some, there is a stigma associated with seeking help, for others there can be barriers to access,” Johnson said. “We now have one team working seamlessly together to provide whole health – body, mind and spirit – for those who trust us for their care.”
Virna Little, co-founder and COO of Concert Health, said that by working together, Concert Health and AdventHealth “are redefining primary care to include the full range of patient needs – behavioral and physical – and supporting primary care physicians to truly practice whole person care.”
Like so many expansions for mental health clinics and companies in the last 18 months, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have increased the need for accessible behavioral health services as isolation, grief, stress and anxiety continue to be an issue for everyday Americans.
Before the pandemic, anywhere from 10 to 14% of patients on a primary care provider’s panel have a behavioral health need. From August of 2020 through February of 2021, the percentage of adults with recent symptoms of anxiety and/or a depressive disorder increased from 36.4% to 41.5%.
Without proper screening and preventive measures, over half of people struggling with behavioral health concerns never get the care they need. Primary care providers, who often have a long-term and trusted relationship with their patients, can play a key role in assessing the need for and providing behavioral health interventions.
More than 60% of Concert Health patients see a 50% reduction in their depression or anxiety symptoms within 90 days, according to the news release.
That flexible, patient-centered approach should allow AdventHealth physicians to practice “whole-person care” through a high-touch model that addresses both mental and physical health.
“Patients visibly relax with relief as they learn behavioral health professionals practice within the same location,” Kelley Singer, director of physician quality and physician enterprise for AdventHealth Hendersonville, said in the news release. “The willingness to engage with our psychiatrists or psychologists is almost 100% now, contrasting with almost never in the past.”
AdventHealth’s practices will connect patients with Concert Health’s expert clinicians to receive same-day behavioral health treatment, via phone or video visit, from the privacy and convenience of their home.
As an extension of AdventHealth’s network of care, Concert’s Behavioral Care Managers and psychiatrists will work directly with AdventHealth’s primary care providers and advanced practice providers to identify behavioral health conditions, develop a care plan, review patient progress and make adjustments as needed.