The Sunflower Foundation announced a $200,000, two-year grant award to fund a partnership between Heartland Community Health Center and the Bert Nash Center on Friday, March 1, 2013.

The award will:

  • continue funding for behavioral health consultant Karin Denes-Collar, an employee of the Bert Nash Center, to provide mental/behavioral health support for patients at primary care clinic, Heartland Community Health Center,
  • place a psychiatric nurse practitioner from the Bert Nash Center onsite at Heartland Community Health Center,
  • and place a primary care provider from Heartland Community Health Center onsite at the Bert Nash Center.
HCHC Medical Director, Raul Morffi, MD, and Bert Nash Center's Karin Denes-Collar, LSCSW, work together to provide integrated care to HCHC's patients. Photo by Jeff Burkhead.HCHC Medical Director, Raul Morffi, MD, and Bert Nash Center’s Karin Denes-Collar, LSCSW, work together to provide integrated care to HCHC’s patients. Photo by Jeff Burkhead. byAli Edwards

National studies show that up to 70 percent of diagnoses in a primary care setting result from psycho-social issues, not biology. Conversely, those diagnosed with a mental health disorder die on average of 25 years sooner than the rest of the population. These statistics show a great need for physical and mental health to be treated in the same setting by a team of both primary care and mental health providers.

“Having experience in practicing in both the mental health and primary care settings has shown me the great need in both populations for integrated care. Helping people where they are already accessing health care, at their doctor’s office, makes it easier and less stigmatizing to address mental health concerns, which are so common. Being able to offer primary care at the mental health center should offer the same advantages — people getting healthier faster and more efficiently,” said Karin Denes-Collar, behavioral health consultant.

The award is actually the second two-year award from the Sunflower Foundation supporting the partnership between HCHC and the Bert Nash Center. The first placed Denes-Collar at HCHC to provide mental and behavioral health and provided funding for an additional primary care provider to practice at HCHC.

“This grant award will increase access to much-needed care. We also anticipate greater patient satisfaction, improved health outcomes and an overall reduction in health care costs. This type of care is an all-around win.” Raul Morffi, HCHC Medical Director

Original story found here.