Prior to January 31, 2014, behavioral health services offered by Fort HealthCare will undergo a significant re-alignment, resulting in the closing of the 509 McMillen Street location in Fort Atkinson. In the new model of integrated care, the majority of outpatient clinical services will be incorporated into the regular office practices at select primary care locations- Fort HealthCare Jefferson, Fort HealthCare Cambridge and the Fort Atkinson locations of Fort HealthCare Integrated Family Care and Fort HealthCare Internal Medicine & Pediatrics.

Fort HealthCare’s mission is to improve the health and well-being of our community. By providing behavioral health services in these primary care physician offices, Fort HealthCare is following a new but proven trend in this important field of medicine. According to this model of care, patients with behavioral health issues are treated in a medical setting by psychologists, social workers, counselors, nurses and primary care physicians. Medical and psycho-social interventions are provided in a location more conducive to wellness programming and where the patient can establish a medical home. Psychiatric services are provided as an adjunct to care.

According to Edwin Fischer, MD, Fort HealthCare medical director, the integrated model of care will result in greater patient satisfaction. “The new program will provide more immediate, solution-focused strategies to address behavioral health needs, offer continued access to psychiatric services and improved communication and coordination of care between primary care clinicians, mental healthcare providers and agencies”, said Fischer. “Most important, we believe the model offers improved overall health for every member of our patient community by delivering preventive and acute behavioral health care in the timeliest manner.”

Based on the principal that mind and body wellness go hand in hand, and that emotional health is critical to good physical health, an integrated approach to holistic care is offered. It has been well documented that psychosocial factors are positively related to poor general health, functional disability, morbidity and mortality. This team approach to holistic medical care will be better able to meet each patient’s unique needs, in a familiar setting and with a team approach attuned to the patient’s physical and mental health needs.

It has also been shown that 70 percent of all health care visits are generated by psychosocial factors. Twenty-nine percent of adults with medical conditions also have mental health conditions. Sixty-eight percent of adults with mental health conditions also have medical conditions.

With these changes, Fort HealthCare Behavioral Health will no longer provide long-term treatment for patients with issues of alcohol and other drug abuse (AODA) and chronic mental health concerns.

Fort HealthCare is working with a number of local mental health organizations to care for those patients requiring this type of continuing care. Current patients of the Behavioral Health clinic are being contacted by letter and some by telephone regarding this change, and staff from the clinic is actively engaged with the patients, assisting them in this transition to new mental health providers and area agencies with capacity to meet their needs.

Beginning now and continuing through January 31, 2014, patients are encouraged to contact the Fort HealthCare Behavioral Health Clinic at (920) 563-9542 to arrange for a discussion of current treatment needs, future treatment options, and any questions or concerns related to behavioral health care.