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Improving Behavioral Healthcare for the Community

Apr 9, 2024Library

The latest on inpatient and outpatient Behavioral Health Services at Delta Health

Outpatient Behavioral Health Update

Becky Ela, MSW, LCSW

Behavioral Health Manager, Outpatient Services

Things are hoppin’ on the outpatient side of the behavioral health world at Delta Health! It’s exciting and we’re moving forward with many new things.

Due to the closure of Integrated Insight Therapy with the subsequent loss of behavioral health support for hundreds of patients and dozens of qualified staff out of work, Delta Health has found ourselves in the unique position of being able to hire qualified Behavioral Health Providers (BHP’s). This is a great turn of events for us, as the statistic where we live is one behavioral health clinician for approximately every 847 people.  We are fortunate to be able to onboard new clinicians to our hospital system.

We have hired two Peer Support Specialists to support Dan Panzarella’s, Inpatient Behavioral Health Manager, work in the Emergency Department and on the inpatient hospital side of things. On the outpatient side, we have hired two Behavioral Health Providers with a third in the wings.  With this addition, we will be able to have two Behavioral Health Providers (BHPs) supporting Family Medicine, Adult Primary Care, the West Elk Hotchkiss Clinic and crisis support for the Emergency Department. Our ultimate goal with hiring these new BHPs is to be able to support the Delta Health Pain Center, Oncology and Rehabilitation, all to a greater degree.

Where are all these clinicians to be housed? Great question!  As with much of the space confines that are inherent in our hospital, the BHP’s who are currently in the primary care clinics will remain there. Lastly, are changing our integrated behavioral health model a little, as with additional clinicians, we will be able to provide longer-term therapy for patients needing this.  The traditional integrated behavioral health model is 1-12 visits. It will be a relief to have BHP’s who have the capacity to see patients longer, as needed.


Inpatient Behavioral Health Update

Dan Panzarella, LPC, LAC.

Inpatient Behavioral Health Manager

As Becky ramps up the outpatient side of our Behavioral Health Program, we here at the hospital are working to expand Behavioral Health access to patients in our Emergency Department, Obstetrics, ICU and Med/Surg Departments through Peer Support Specialists.

What are Peers you may ask? SAMHSA, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration defines Peers as: “People who have been successful in the recovery process who help others experiencing similar situations. Through shared understanding, respect, and mutual empowerment, peer support workers help people become and stay engaged in the recovery process and reduce the likelihood of relapse.”

We have already hired two Peers for the hospital and they are working hard to provide empathetic support for a range of patients from those struggling with postpartum depression, anxiety about a new diagnosis, or the loss of a family member to those in a mental health crisis. Along with immediate support, our Peers also connect patients with vital Behavioral Health and social determinants of health resources through active referrals and warm handoffs to our community partners.

Peers provide service excellence to help our patients feel seen, heard, and cared for during challenging times. They also support the hospital to meet quality measures to ensure the absolute best care for our community and financial sustainability. Through these efforts, and an increased focus on streamlining communication and efficiency between the hospital and outpatient physicians and behavioral health providers, we are excited to redefine what Behavioral Health care looks like in our rural community.

While it will take time to work out the kinks, workflows, and processes of our new Behavioral Health Program, Delta Health is committed to meeting the needs of our community, reducing the stigma around Behavioral Health, and owning that in 2024, Behavioral Health is healthcare.



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