Last week, we touched on the importance of patient navigation and care coordination as a critical piece for a brighter future of health. Focus on care coordination and navigation is important for behavioral health as well. Individuals have experienced record levels of stress and anxiety, exacerbated by the impact of physical distancing, social isolation, and the reduction of traditional support systems during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a result, the pandemic has heightening the shortage of accessibility to counselors and difficulty securing these services.[i] In response to this challenge, the American Medical Association and others have called for the integration of behavioral health as a component of physical care to enhance access to treatment for many mental health conditions.[ii]

An Integrated Care Model

At Marathon Health, we are uniquely positioned to demonstrate the value of integrated behavioral health across the entire healthcare delivery system. Behavioral health is offered as part of the primary care service model by Marathon Health clinicians. In cases where behavioral health services are not available at our health centers, our clinicians work closely with third-party EAP programs or community-based mental health providers to coordinate care.

Hear from our National Director for Mental Health Services, Denise Meyers, MS:

“Our clinicians either provide care directly or we work to coordinate care with Employee Assistance Programs and outside mental health specialists. We also create customized health promotion programs and workshops for employees and their families. Topics may include substance abuse, relationships, stress, anxiety, anger management, and self-image.”

Through this integrated care approach, Marathon Health patients have reported significant improvement in their mental health and our clients have realized considerable savings tied to redirected care, lower absenteeism, and higher productivity.[iii]

The worksite health industry is rising to the challenge of identifying and retaining qualified mental health professionals and integrating behavioral health into a holistic care model. Find more details in our recent whitepaper, “Employers Pivot from COVID-19 Pandemic to Create Integrated Care Model of the Future”.

[i] https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/public-health/covid-19-intensifies-need-mental-health-care-services

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] Data from Marathon Health PHQ-9 and GAD-7 scores across health centers utilizing licensed counselors.

About the Author: Bruce Hochstadt

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EVP, Health Center Operations & Sales, Marathon Health

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