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CEO Update: Growing behavioral health services

Across the United States, more than 60 million people are affected and live with mental health conditions. Missouri ranks 41st in the nation in access to mental health services. We’re also seeing that the need continues to grow locally. We have 60 patients coming to CMH’s emergency department monthly for help with a behavioral health condition. Of those, 35% are pediatric patients.

A key part of our current strategic plan at Citizens Memorial is to grow behavioral health services. We plan to expand those services. It’s part of CMH’s responsibility to fill the behavioral health needs we see in our communities.

Our leadership structure recently changed to include a behavioral health service line within our clinic system. However, it goes beyond our clinic system. It’s an organizational look at behavioral health care, both inpatient and outpatient.

I am pleased that Dr. Rachael Swopes is filling the role of clinical director of behavioral health services. Angela Long is CMH’s administrative lead and operations director for behavioral health services.

Current status of behavioral health services

For many years, CMH offered an inpatient geriatric wellness service and had providers available to the public. Services added in recent years include:

• Placing behavioral health providers in every rural health clinic.
• Partnering with area school districts to provide school-based counseling services.
• Opening a behavioral health transitional clinic.

The wait time for a new patient appointment with a CMH behavioral health provider usually is three to six months. The transitional clinic bridges a gap in behavioral health services until patients are established with a provider. The services provided by a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner include medication refills, psychology services and counseling.

Future growth of behavioral health services

Planning for future growth includes:

• Using data to identify the highest areas of coverage and needs.
• Applying for grants to help fund new services.
• Increasing community partnerships.
• Bringing more behavioral health providers to CMH.

Angela and Dr. Swopes are providing great leadership. Thank you also to the behavioral health providers for the compassion they show our patients and the care they demonstrate. We have a great core team, and I look forward to growing the team in the future.

Michael Calhoun shares the latest happenings at CMH in his monthly CEO Updates. He is the CEO/executive director of CMH and the Citizens Memorial Health Care Foundation.


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