February 21, 2019

New Primary Care Clients Reap Benefits of Integrated Care

PORTLAND, Ore.—Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare has now been providing primary care for almost 700 new clients, one full year after launching primary care services as part of the organization’s move to embrace integrated healthcare – and deliver on their “whole health care” mission. Cascadia offers primary care, mental and behavioral healthcare and housing services to provide a continuity of care for clients.

Studies show that coordinating services results in positive outcomes for clients, such as decreased emergency department usage, improved mortality rates and health outcomes, even housing stabilization. Cascadia has seen these outcomes firsthand.

For the last year, clients at Cascadia who had previously only received mental and behavioral healthcare from the organization have been given the opportunity to access primary care through a care coordination team comprised of a primary care physician and specialists who can provide comprehensive services such as health screenings, risk assessments, and the gathering of baseline measurements such as body mass index (BMI) and blood pressure, as well as chronic disease management.

“Individuals are here talking with us about some really big life stressors. Those stressors can also cause or exasperate physical health concerns that need to be addressed. We take a look at their bigger health picture, and can address those with something as simple as a routine blood pressure check or as comprehensive as the primary coordination of their healthcare including specialists, pharmacy and hospitalizations,” said John Duke, Cascadia’s Primary Care Officer.

“The key is to provide that primary care is the behavioral health home where the individuals we serve already feel connected. Our care coordination means better results for our clients – and better results for our community.”

This coordinated care approach can lead to more comprehensive and directed health outcomes, such as diagnosis and better management of a larger health concern – for example, diabetes.

“When early symptoms of diabetes are not discovered and addressed, multiple physical health complications can emerge, which affect one’s mental health as well. Ultimately, a person might arrive to the Emergency Department (ED) or be admitted to a hospital medical unit as a result of such concerns,” says Cascadia’s Chief Medical Officer Jeffrey Eisen.

“Instead of ending up in the ED, we can work with individuals to support them in a variety of ways to manage diabetes, whether it be advice on nutrition, checking one’s blood sugar levels, or physical health exams to monitor for complications.”

This approach allows Cascadia to equip the client with necessary tools and information to manage their own health outcomes, have less or no utilization of the emergency department, and focus on their overall health and well-being.

The new Garlington Health Center recently opened an on-site Genoa Pharmacy to further allow clients to fill all of their Rx with Cascadia, making pharmaceutical services and coordination more effective and efficient.

“The whole idea is more effective healthcare, with better health outcomes and reduction of costs,” says Eisen.

Cascadia’s primary care encompasses a wide range of health services including: chronic disease management, family planning, education, nutrition counseling, disease prevention, medication management, blood work and other testing, transgender services, wound care, urgent care, vaccinations and immunizations.

written by Olivia Alley, Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare, External Communications