With the goal of bringing primary health care directly to patients where they feel most comfortable, Ammonoosuc Community Health Services has partnered with Northern Health and Human Services’ White Mountain Mental Health (WMMH) to deliver medical care to patients at their Maple street site. The collaboration – The Crossroads Clinic – provides an integrated approach to treating those with mental illness.
Crossroads Clinic helps break down barriers for mentally ill patients
People with mental health and substance abuse disorders are less likely to see a primary care provider (PCP), yet many suffer from untreated and preventable chronic illnesses such as diabetes, obesity, and hypertension. These illnesses can be aggravated by poor health habits that come along with behavioral health issues and may lead to more serious health concerns, and even early death.
“The idea is to meet the patient in a location they feel most comfortable in.”, said ACHS Chief Operations Officer, Teresa Brooks. “Many of these patients have anxieties and phobias that prevent them from feeling safe in public places, spaces with loud noises or locations where they feel stressed. By bringing primary care to a place where patients already have an established comfort zone, we remove a barrier that has been in the way of them getting care.”
Patients without PCPs can now get the services they need
According to Suzanne Gaetjens-Oleson, the Regional Mental Health Administrator and Chief of Operations at White Mountain Mental Health, the new Crossroads Clinic will serve nearly 70 patients who do not have a Primary Care Provider (PCP). In September, ACHS primary care providers Natalyia Sundina, PA-C and Josh Gleiner, PA-C began seeing patients in specially designated areas at WMMH’s Littleton location. The new clinical space is modern and welcoming.
WMMH has already established one such clinic in Berlin, NH. The success of the program there lead to the extension into Littleton. Monies received through an IDN (Integrated Delivery Network) grant, funded construction, and equipment to help establish the program.
This hope is that WMMH patients will now get the primary care services they need in a comfortable, accessible setting which will help increase their compliance in taking medications, keeping appointments and adhering to recommendations – so they can get and stay healthier.
Appointments can be made through White Mountain Mental Health and are covered by most insurance, Medicare and Medicaid. Sliding-fee payment options may also be available.
Founded in 1975, ACHS is a nonprofit community health center offering a network of affordable health care services to residents of 26 New Hampshire towns in northern Grafton and southern Coos counties. With sites located in Littleton, Franconia, Whitefield, Warren, and Woodsville, their Clinical teams provide comprehensive services – including primary, dental and behavioral health care on a sliding fee scale to nearly 11,000 patients. For more information about ACHS, visit https://www.ammonoosuc.org/ or call 444-2464.
For more information about Northern Health and Human Services and White Mountain Mental Health visit: https://northernhs.org/
Hero photo courtesy of: Natasha-Spencer