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Collaborative improves behavioral health patients’ access to care, reduces stigma

 When West Tennessee Healthcare’s flagship hospital saw 108,000 visits in its emergency department last year – nearly double what it was built to handle – its leaders were alarmed. 

“Behavioral health patients showing up in the ED is frankly not the best place for them to get care,” said Lisa Piercey, M.D., executive vice president of West Tennessee Healthcare. 
West Tennessee Healthcare’s Pathways Behavioral Health Services and other community groups came together and identified several concurrent issues that significantly impact medical and mental health, well-being, community economics and resources. 
They created an innovative solution – a project that has developed patient-centered interventions while reducing medical costs and other non-medical community costs. It also has helped reduce acute care hospital ED mental health visits and lowered substance use-related arrests and bookings.
“This is truly a collaborative community-wide innovation that is making a real difference,” Piercey said. 

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