Three Organizations Combine to Support Better Coordinated Holistic Care in Western Iowa

Article Date: Jul 23, 2014 Media Contact: Jodi Hoatson
(402) 343-4514

Council Bluffs, IA – Three organizations in western Iowa are offering new integrated health home programs that will serve adults with severe mental illness and children with  serious emotional disturbances. Alegent Creighton Health will serve adults, children and adolescents, Children’s Square will help children and adolescents and Heartland Family Service will serve adults.

Behavioral health disorders and medical conditions often co-occur which can significantly exacerbate a mental health condition and hinder treatment for physical conditions.
The programs offered by these three organizations will give individuals the opportunity to have coordinated medical and behavioral health care, enhanced access and more preventative care services for those who are enrolled.

Those who qualify to participate in the program include adults with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression and other severe mental health conditions that cause significant impairment in daily functioning. Children with serious emotional disturbances (SED), including a diagnosable mental, behavioral or emotional disorder that results in impairment of daily functioning, are also eligible.

"As an example - people with mental health conditions who also have chronic medical conditions, like diabetes, often have difficulty managing their disease. If left untreated, their health can deteriorate and require a hospitalization that could have been prevented," said Kelly Houser of Alegent Creighton Health. “Enhanced care coordination has a positive impact on those individuals participating in these programs - reducing hospital admissions, emergency room visits and readmissions."

Each person in these programs will have a care team made up of a care coordinator, a family or peer support specialist and a nurse care coordinator who actively review their mental and medical conditions in order to create an integrated care plan to address both mind and body. Dedicated to helping each person improve their health, the team also assists with peer support services to encourage recovery and wellness. Family members of the person participating in these programs also may access other needed resources.

"Statistics on individuals with serious mental illness and co-occurring conditions concern us all," said Jennifer Talarico of Heartland Family Service. “On average, individuals with serious mental illness die 25 years earlier than the general population. If they don’t receive the right treatment at the right time, these numbers won’t change."

These types of programs have also been shown to cut costs. According to a 2013 study, the Missouri Medicaid program costs had been cut by $4.2 million thanks to better coordination of the physical and mental health services provided to seriously mentally ill Medicaid patients who participated in the Missouri Medical Home Collaborative program, which is similar in scope to Iowa’s Integrated Health Homes.

"The goal of our programs will be to make sure these high-risk adults and children receive appropriate and convenient medical care," said Kimberly Kolakowski of Children’s Square. “By addressing the whole person with a team of professionals coordinating their care, we will empower individuals to improve their quality of health and significantly reduce the cost of their healthcare."

For more information about these programs:

Alegent Creighton Health Integrated Health Home – (712) 325-2424

Children’s Square – (712) 256-7075

Heartland Family Service Integrated Health Home – (712) 256-4556

Additional Information & Statistics

Prevalence of Co-Occurring Problems:
Some statistics on the prevalence of co-occurring behavioral and medical conditions include:

  • In the past year, 34 million adults – 17 percent of American adults – had co-occurring mental health and medical conditions
  • 29 percent of adults with medical conditions also have mental health conditions and 68 percent of adults with mental health conditions also have medical conditions
  • A recent study found that individuals with bipolar disorder, on average, have a greater number of medical conditions than individuals without claims for mental illness
  • Studies reveal that approximately 17 percent of Medicare beneficiaries have a mental illness
  • A study of Medicaid beneficiaries in New York State determined that, among patients at high risk of hospitalization, 69 percent had a history of mental illness and 54 percent had a history of both mental illness and alcohol and substance use

Costs of Co-Occurring Problems

  • Depressed patients are three times more likely than non-depressed patients to be noncompliant with treatment recommendations
  • One study found that monthly costs for a patient with a chronic disease and depression costs $560 more than for a person with a chronic disease without depression

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