Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center's innovative Get Well/Stay Well program, which provides holistic care to older adults at the Summit Family Care Center in Wheatfield, has won a prestigious national award.
An Award of Excellence will be presented to the Get Well/Stay Well project team by the National Council of Behavioral Health at the Council's March 8 annual conference in Las Vegas. The Get Well/Stay Well team was selected for the national award by a panel of experts from among more than 1,000 nominees.
"We are humbled and gratified to receive this honor," said Memorial Vice President for Service Line Operations Sanjay Chadha. "The people we serve are more than patients - they are our friends, family members and neighbors. We are devoted to their well-being and excited to be able to offer them this integrated model of care."
More than 20 percent of adults over age 55 have experienced a mental illness, but typically only one in three will receive treatment. To break down the barriers many older adults face in the community, Niagara Falls Memorial created Get Well/Stay Well - an integrated primary care/behavioral health program specifically for them.
Behavioral health services are offered at the medical center's Summit Healthplex primary care site, where clinical staff work side by side with physicians to talk to patients about holistic health.
Patients determined to need behavioral health care are immediately connected to a collaborative care professional who is located within the Summit Family Care Center. Integrating behavioral health services with primary care services at this single location gives seniors a convenient opportunity to receive care for all of their health care needs, both physical and behavioral.
Niagara Falls Memorial Chief Operating Officer Sheila K. Kee noted an independent evaluation team from the University of Colorado found 60 percent of the project's patients treated for depression and 45 percent of project patients treated for anxiety have achieved clinically significant improvements.
Launched in May 2014 and supported by a $500,000 three-year grant from the New York State Office of Mental Health, the program operates in collaboration with The Dale Association, a well-known provider of mental health and elder care services in Niagara County. Training support was furnished by the nationally recognized University of Washington AIMS Center.
Since it was initiated, Get Well/Stay Well has screened more than 1,400 patients during their primary care visits and referred some 200 of them to behavioral health services.
The program is scheduled to expand later this year when other Niagara Falls Memorial primary care sites make the transition to this model of integrated care.