CHR Shares Real Life Success of Program that Integrates Behavioral Healthcare and Primary Care

July 24, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Peggy Winsman, LCSW, a Program Director with CHR, today joins a panel of nationally recognized experts to explain the real life, real cost benefits of integrating behavioral healthcare services with primary care.

At CHR, Ms. Winsman coordinates a program called Whole Health that integrates all healthcare services for men and women with serious mental illness and addictions and offers a series of innovative wellness groups focusing on nutrition, exercise, mindfulness and more. Whole Health has been up and running for two years, thanks to a federal grant CHR secured, and is transforming lives.

“Men and women in our program are seeing primary care doctors for the first time in years and are experiencing fewer hospitalizations, fewer Emergency Department visits, and at the same time, seeing improvements in blood pressure, body-mass index and more,” Winsman explained. Through Whole Health, CHR collaborates with First Choice Health Center, an FQHC that is based in East Hartford and last year opened a satellite office in CHR’s flagship outpatient office in Manchester.

“Through Whole Health, clients can receive all services under one roof: therapy, intensive therapy, psychiatry, primary care and even a gym for exercise and wellness classes,” Winsman added.

One of CHR’s highest priorities is to help clients obtain complete care, including primary care and wellness services.

“Sadly, adults with serious mental illness tend to have dramatically lower life expectancies than the general public. This is due to a variety of issues including a lack of ongoing, preventive and primary care. We are determined to change that troubling trend,” said Heather M. Gates, President and CEO of CHR. “We are very proud of the progress CHR has made through Whole Health, the Behavioral Health Home and other collaborative projects,” she said.

Today’s panel discussion before Congressional staff was organized by the National Council for Behavioral Health and sponsored by U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) to draw attention to the benefits of federally-funded programs that promote integrated care. Earlier this year, Ms. Winsman and colleagues from CHR were invited to make a similar presentation about Whole Health and all of CHR’s integrated care efforts at the 2017 U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Primary and Behavioral Healthcare Integration Grantee Meeting. 

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