New Program Connects Primary Care Providers to Mental Health Services for Youth

 BALTIMORE (January 17, 2013) – The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) and the State Department of Education (MSDE), along with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the Salisbury University Department of Social Work, have launched a program aiming to support the efforts of pediatric primary care providers to assess and manage mental health concerns in their patients.



“This program will better enable primary care providers to connect their patients to mental health services,” said Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, Secretary of DHMH. “It will create critical connections to ensure the seamless delivery of health services for youth.”

“Early detection and treatment of behavioral issues is critical to improved development of young children, a goal of our Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge Grant,” said State Superintendent of Schools Lillian Lowery. “This collaboration with DHMH ensures a strong statewide effort to link pediatric physical and mental health care. That bond will pay off for Maryland children for years to come.”

B-HIPP is supported by funding from DHMH and MSDE. Over time, the Maryland Behavioral Health Integration Program in Primary Care (B-HIPP) aims to make managing child and adolescent mental health problems more routine in primary care settings, and to make it an efficient and effective gateway to specialty mental health care.

B-HIPP offers this assistance through four main components, all of which are available to primary care providers without charge and without regard to a patient’s insurance status:

1) Phone Consultation Service: B-HIPP provides phone consultation for primary care providers with child mental health specialists (child psychiatrists, psychologists, clinical social workers, and licensed professional counselors) at the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins. The consultations are conducted much in the same way as in other specialties, without gathering identifying information about the patients. The team is available to provide general and/or case specific consultation in many areas of behavioral health including medication management, diagnostic issues, developmental delays, school/learning issues, autism spectrum disorders, trauma, and early childhood mental health (ages 0-5).
2) Continuing Education: B-HIPP will offer opportunities for mental health skills training for primary care providers.
3) Referral & Resource Networking: B-HIPP will work to increase access to children's mental health services by improving links between primary care providers and the mental health providers in their communities.
4) Social Work Co-Location: In partnership with Salisbury University, B-HIPP is piloting social work co-location in four pediatric primary care practices on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. In the co-location model, social work interns are available on-site to provide screening, brief intervention, referral and real-time consultation to primary care providers.

"We are delighted to be part of such a forward-looking program with the potential to bring quality mental health care - for both prevention and treatment -- to nearly every child in Maryland,” said Dr. Larry Wissow, program co-director, child psychiatrist and Professor of Health, Behavior and Society at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “Programs like BHIPP have been a big success in other states, and Maryland is taking it to a new level by staffing to address the overlapping developmental, mental health, and chronic medical issues faced by so many families."

"For many families, especially in underserved areas, the primary care physician is the portal for good mental health care,” said Dr. David Pruitt, program co-director, Professor of Psychiatry and head of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “We are committed to supporting primary care through the BHIPP initiative."

The social work co-location portion of B-HIPP began at four lower shore practices in September 2012. Since that time, social work interns have provided 153 consultations; their placements will extend through the spring/summer of 2013 with a second cohort to be fielded in the fall.

“When considering a service entry point with the greatest impact and potential to reach the largest number of children and families, a primary care pediatric office is a natural choice,” said Amy D. Habeger, Social Work faculty member and B-HIPP Salisbury Program Coordinator. “Our MSW B-HIPP interns are finding a level of trust and continuity present within the pediatrician’s office which minimizes some of the stigma of treating psychosocial and behavioral concerns.”

The B-HIPP telephone consultation line has gone live to pilot areas, Western Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as of January 2013. Primary care providers in those areas are encouraged to enroll and use the service by calling the BHIPP line 855-MD-BHIPP (855-632-4477) or checking www.mdbhipp.org. The pilot period will extend through June 2013, at which time phone consultation services will be expanded statewide. B-HIPP is working in concert with other state funded projects in addressing the integration of behavioral health into primary care settings.

 

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