Last year, long before COVID-19, Saratoga Hospital launched a pilot “collaborative care” program to help primary care physicians connect patients to behavioral health services. Today, hospital officials say behavioral health services are integrated into all eight Saratoga Hospital Medical Group primary care practices—a model that is proving invaluable in helping patients cope with the stress of the pandemic.
“Our world is changing irrevocably, and that’s bound to have a significant impact on mental health,” said Janice Prichett, executive director of behavioral health at Saratoga Hospital. “People are worried about their health, their loved ones and their jobs. Many are feeling sad, anxious, or isolated.
“Even those with the best coping skills are likely to need some support. This integrated, collaborative model makes it easier for them to get help.”
She said the model works, in part, because it recognizes the importance of patients’ trusted relationships with their primary care provider. Patients share their concerns with their primary care provider and, within 24 hours, are contacted by a licensed behavioral health professional.