Inspiring Holistic Care
Bluegrass Regional Healthcare
We love it when we align with like-minded clients.
Behavioral health is becoming a part of the way our country looks at whole health, but it takes pioneers at the individual practice level to pave the way for real change. That’s why we were so excited to meet Susan Matthews through an initiative to increase behavioral health screening in primary care. When we approached her with bhworks, she was already in-tune with the needs of her community, and she was ready to roll up her sleeves and get to work.
Ms. Matthews owns an independent primary care practice in Beaver Dam, Kentucky, and her facility is staffed by two office assistants and a medical biller. Though people in this bible-belt town are often hesitant to discuss their mental health, Ms. Matthews had noticed issues with some of her patients, especially around the holidays, and was concerned about the lack of behavioral health resources in her community. Due to the rural location of the clinic, patients in this small town must travel a minimum of 30 miles for any behavioral health referral, sometimes waiting several weeks for an appointment with a specialist. Before implementing bhworks, the practice didn’t screen regularly for behavioral health issues, but Ms. Matthews often provided brief counseling (without reimbursement) to patients who required non-emergency intervention.
When she was approached by practice advisors working for a CMS supported project, she was happy to learn about the bhworks tool. She soon began screening all patients for depression risk and alcohol-related problems. As the owner of a small-town practice, Ms. Matthews has known most of her patients for many years, and she was shocked when screening started uncovering risk she had never suspected.
These revelations prompted her to connect to the patients in a deeper way, focusing her attention on implementing behavioral health interventions that could be provided locally. She is currently completing her psychiatric mental health certification and is in the process of hiring another nurse practitioner so her practice can fully address the mental health needs of her community. She is particularly interested in identifying and treating patients with ADHD, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.