LEWISTON – Common Ties Mental Health recently provided two days of training on the topic of integrating primary health care and behavioral health care. The project implementation team of Common Ties provided the training.

Dr. Alexander Blount, trainer, is a nationally known and published expert on the topic of integrating primary and behavioral health care. He is professor of clinical family medicine at the in Worcester, Mass., and director of behavioral science in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health.

Blount observed and provided clinical consultation to staff of the B Street Health Center on the practice of integrative care, a team-based approach to enhance capacity to treat mental health issues in a primary care setting.

The training was highlighted by a luncheon presentation on key concepts of integrated primary care by Blount to representatives from the Department of Health and Human Services, the Maine Primary Care Association, the Maine Department of Heath, Community Clinical Services and St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center.

Known as the Integrated Health Care Practice and launched in September of 2003 through a two-year grant from the Maine Health Access Foundation, Common Ties Mental Health and Community Clinical Services have developed strategies to improve access to behavioral health care through the co-location of mental health specialists at the B Street Health Center.

The Maine Health Access Foundation is interested in expanding access to care through the development, implementation, replication or expansion of integrated and comprehensive models of coverage or care delivery that promotes evidence-based and outcome-effective practices.

The project continues into year two with a focus on evaluating outcomes, identifying strategies to continue the practice of integrating behavioral and primary care and continuing to serve clients through the B Street Health Center.

The Integration Team, located at the center, is composed of Dr. Amelia Randolph and Francis Berks, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, both of the center, and Lynda Morin, case manager of Common Ties Mental Health. Jim Lysen, executive director of the federally qualified health center, oversees the project and can be contacted at 786-8793.

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