Two Local Organizations in Bangor Partner To Bridge Mental And Medical Health Care 

Community Health and Counseling Services and Saint Joseph Healthcare are partnering to provide better healthcare to those dealing with mental illness in the area.”What it allows us to do is integrate primary care into the mental health services,” said Dale Hamilton, Executive Director at CHCS.CHCS was one of 92 agencies in the nation to receive a federal grant that has allowed them to open a one-stop clinic, on-site, that will provide a place for patients to see a primary-care provider, and a psychiatrist.”People with serious mental illness die younger. They have much more difficulty with diabetes and with cardiovascular disease. Much of that risk can be reduced with early and on-going treatment at their medical conditions,” said Dr. Allen Schaffer, Chief of Psychiatry at CHCS.Administrators are excited to provide patients with a comfortable and familiar spot to seek a more comprehensive treatment. “Being able to identify the reality that this population, that here is disparity, in terms of healthcare, and health outcomes, really provides us an opportunity as a mental health provider, to recognize that, and implement those services that will benefit people to improve their overall health,” said Hamilton.With the grand-opening only days away, administrators are eager to begin, what they say is a major break-through in mental health care and health care reform.”The evidence is very strong that there are improved outcomes, reduced medical costs, improved satisfaction for arrangements where there’s a coordinated single-site delivery of care for this population,” said Schaffer.The grand-opening is set for Thursday at CHCS.