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CHD receives behavioral health grant

An update from CHD:

CHD was recently awarded a $75,000 grant from the CVS Health Foundation to help launch the agency’s innovative reverse-integrated primary care model at its Certified Clinical Behavioral Health Center (CCBHC) in West Springfield.

This cutting-edge approach is ideal for serving vulnerable individuals in the community, enabling them to gain access to primary care where they are already receiving CHD’s mental health, behavioral health, or substance use treatment. Funding from CVS Health Foundation will support the clinic planning and development that will lead to care delivery and will support individuals in a region with high poverty levels, significant numbers of newly settled refugee families, and increasing substance use rates.

The model, which will be implemented at CHD’s Park Street Behavioral Health Outpatient Clinic in West Springfield, is groundbreaking, according to CHD Senior VP of Medical Services Jalil Johnson, because customarily such integration involves bringing behavioral health clinicians into a primary care practice. “We are doing a reverse integration in that we are bringing the primary care practice fully into a behavioral health clinic and operating as one team, which is not common,” he said. “Rather than using physical medicine or exams as the catalyst for accessing mental health services, we plan to use a mental health or substance diagnosis—often the most common or clear way people arrive for care or services—as an inroads to medical interventions and support.”

Initially, the services will be mostly oriented to people CHD already serves and focus on groups who have increased needs, including individuals with severe mental illness and veterans with acute conditions, including trauma.

The funds from CVS Health Foundation will support the design and build-out of electronic health records, the design of training for nursing and clinical staff, and planning for staffing/scheduling/client and case management. Funds will largely support non-billable staff hours.

The Park Street Clinic, located in a federally-designated Healthcare Professional Shortage Area, serves between 800-900 individuals annually. Integrating primary care at this location will allow CHD to reach its equity-related goals of serving everyone where they choose to live and at the stage they are in life, rather than relying on the traditional model of clients accessing standalone primary care, which is now understood to be a systemic barrier to entry.

The grant is part of the CVS Health Foundation’s 2023 Hometown Fund, which supports the communities the company’s headquarters call home. According to Sheryl Burke, senior vice president of corporate social responsibility and chief sustainability officer at CVS Health Foundation, “When people have access to consistent health care and are equipped with the supporting services like affordable housing and healthy food, they are better positioned to improve their health. Our Hometown Fund grantees selected this year serve as examples of the ongoing work that is the focus of our philanthropic programs.”


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