Care Coordination is a Vital Element for Effective Treatment - Valley Behavioral Health
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July 13, 2020 By Julie Rael, LCSW, CCO Valley Behavioral Health

At Valley, we provide all-inclusive behavioral health services. Our care coordination services are vital for our clients to receive the most appropriate, safe, and effective treatment. Our care coordinators are also clinicians and specialize in providing therapy and connecting our patients to resources to assist their recovery. As a patient, you can expect your care coordinator to be your primary contact for your care coordination needs. Your care coordinator will create a customized care plan for you that organizes and communicates your treatment needs to all the providers involved in your care. Your treatment and our communication about it are of the utmost importance, and that is why we encourage our patients to receive most of their services in one treatment center. Care coordination happens more fluidly as all providers have access to the patient’s chart, and they can easily monitor their engagement and response to treatment interventions. By regularly monitoring their progress in treatment, the care coordinator can assist them with navigating treatment needs and implementing adjustments to the care plan. The care coordinator also considers the patient’s medical needs to inform treatment interventions. They will include their primary care physician and other medical providers in the care coordination process. If you are a patient reading this, it may sound nice to hear about our care coordination services, and you may also wonder what this process entails. I will illustrate with an example below.

Your primary care provider referred you to our services due to several treatment needs they discovered while working with you. Your symptoms were not responding to the medications they prescribed for you, and they wanted you to receive more comprehensive services from providers with specialized experience. When you arrive at your first appointment with us, the clinician asks a series of questions to understand all your treatment needs. The clinician discovers that you had pre-existing symptoms, but that your symptoms increased after you were in a car accident several months ago. The injuries you sustained during your car accident left you with chronic pain. You share that you have been using higher doses of pain medications to experience relief, and you fear that you may have become addicted to these medications. You were also let go from your job last week due to a decline in performance. You will be losing your health insurance coverage at the end of the month. You realize that you have been struggling with managing your time, you feel disorganized and overwhelmed with completing tasks and solving problems. Your stress has been compounded by your worsening financial situation. You fear that your current level of functioning may make it difficult to find employment soon to prevent losing your housing. You have never felt this helpless. Despite the current state you are in, you made the best decision to start treatment with us.

Your care coordinator steps in and helps prioritize your more immediate needs while helping to reduce additional stressors and obstacles. They create a customized care plan with you, to begin addressing your symptoms and obtain assistance with addressing difficulties that are increasing your symptom distress. Your care coordinator schedules an appointment for you to apply for Medicaid and other funding assistance to address your ability to afford treatment. They connect you with a case manager to help you access food assistance and locate financial resources in the community to help you maintain housing. They scheduled a medication evaluation for you with a prescriber that specializes in treating depression and anxiety. They contact a pain clinic to help you receive specialized and safer treatment for your pain while considering possible interactions with the medications you are currently taking. They connect your prescriber and your new pain doctor so that they can effectively collaborate on your medication regimen. They refer you to psychosocial rehabilitation services with a case manager to help you make steady improvements with re-implementing a daily routine, time management, and problem-solving skills to help increase the effectiveness of your medication and therapy services. At each therapy session, they will utilize evidence-based therapy interventions and help you implement methods to manage your stress in-between your sessions. They will continue to discuss your treatment options but will recommend those that are most effective for your unique needs. Throughout your treatment, your care coordinator will continue to monitor your progress, encourage you, communicate with your providers, and adjust your care plan as your situation improves. Please ask questions and provide feedback on your experience to your providers. Your care coordinator will be your partner in your healing process, will continue to learn about you, and be with you and in every phase of your treatment. Their goal is to help you reach your goals and return to doing the things that you enjoy and give your purpose.

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