Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Milton, in partnership with South Shore Mental Health, recently hosted an Integrated Care Learning Consortium.  More than 40 community professionals, including representatives from local school districts, social service agencies and healthcare providers, met to collaborate and share strategies on how to create a seamless and integrated system of healthcare to best serve behavioral health patients suffering from mental health and/or substance abuse problems.

“In treating the patient in a coordinated manner, where health care professionals consider all health conditions at the same time, we can help to reduce stigma toward people with behavioral health issues,” said BID-Milton’s Chief Medical Officer and Vice President of Healthcare Quality Ashley Yeats, MD. “We can better coordinate care in a manner that reduces symptoms and, ultimately, we can reduce the amount of time individuals spend in emergency departments for treatment of these conditions.”

The Integrated Care Learning Consortium was funded through a CHART 2 (Community Hospital Acceleration, Rehabilitation and Transformation) $2 million grant awarded to the hospital from the Health Policy Commission earlier this year to establish a regionalized process for more effectively managing behavioral health patients.

Attendees at the consortium had the opportunity to network with other regional providers and share information on behavioral health best practices and resources. Participants also benefitted from hearing from Iyah Romm, policy director for care delivery, innovation and investment for the Health Policy Commission, on what is being done at the state level to combat the behavioral health crisis.

“The hospital is a part of the system of care, but only one piece of it,” said BID-Milton President and Chief Executive Officer Peter Healy. “We recognize the importance of partnering with our community, from all disciplines and perspectives, to ensure we have the ability to provide the most comprehensive care to behavioral health patients, not only while our patients are here in the hospital, but also when they return home.”

“South Shore Mental Health is pleased to work with BID-Milton and other community providers to strengthen the programs and services available to people facing mental health challenges.  Our agency continues to build collaborations, programs and services to further meet community needs,” said Sherry Ellis, vice president of Crisis and Rehabilitation Services at South Shore Mental Health.

According to Lisa Braude, Ph.D, Chart 2 project manager at the hospital, the Integrated Care Learning Consortium will be held on an ongoing basis to help improve the quality of care for behavioral health patients and to develop appropriate alternative treatment settings for some patients other than a hospital’s emergency department.