August 15, 2016
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Administrative and clinical leadership from the Norton County Hospital in Norton, Kansas, recently completed training with Cherokee Health Systems in Knoxville, Tennessee, to improve services and help clients achieve improved health outcomes. The instruction was an intensive two-day experience in Cherokee’s Primary Care/Behavioral Health Integrated Care Training Academy.
“We were very pleased to work with the staff from the Norton County Hospital and were very impressed with the group’s commitment to its community and desire to help its clients improve their overall quality of life,” said Dennis Freeman, Ph.D., Cherokee Health Systems chief executive officer. “The importance of treating the whole person in an integrated, blended approach cannot be understated in terms of improved health outcomes, provider satisfaction and financial efficiencies.”
According to the model presented by Cherokee Health Systems, integrated care is – at a basic level – the treatment of the entire patient, both mind and body. More specifically, it is the care that results from a practice team of primary care and behavioral health clinicians, who work together with patients and families using a systematic and cost-effective approach to provide patient-centered care for a defined population.
Integrated care may address mental health and substance abuse, health behaviors and their contribution to chronic illness, life stressors, stress-related physical symptoms, as well as ineffective patterns of health care use.
Cherokee Health Systems is recognized as a national leader in the delivery of integrated care services, having practiced the model for more than 30 years in east Tennessee. Cherokee’s Primary Care/Behavioral Health Integrated Care Training Academy has trained hundreds of providers over the last several years. As a provider in Tennessee, the organization treats more than 60,000 people annually and adds more than 16,000 new patients annually.
“I was grateful to know that we as a health community in Norton already have the philosophy of an integrated, systematic and cost-effective approach (to health care),” said Dr. Glenda Maurer, family physician at the Norton County Hospital, who attended the training. “This meeting gave us new ideas and actual working examples to improve how we provide optimal care.”
The Sunflower Foundation supported travel to the training for Dr. Maurer and Gina Frack, chief operating officer for the Norton County Hospital, along with Kelly Kriegshauser of Citizens Medical Clinic in Colby, Kansas. Frack said Norton County Hospital and Citizens Medical Clinic have shared interests in finding innovative ways to address the integrated care needs in the communities they serve.