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December 19, 2014

Grants support programs with integrated service models

Community Healthlink and UMass Memorial Health Care are among 10 organizations sharing $1.3 million in grants under a new program administered by the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation.

The program, Fostering Effective Integration of Behavioral Health and Primary Care, will support Massachusetts organizations that treat people who have behavioral health problems and other medical issues.

It’s a particularly vulnerable population, the foundation said in a statement Thursday announcing the grants.

“Individuals with behavioral health and other medical issues are among the highest need, most complex patients in the health care system, but rarely receive care that integrates both aspects of treatment,” the statement said. The foundation cited research from the National Co-morbidity Survey Replication that showed 68 percent of adults with severe behavioral health disorders have at least one chronic medical condition, and 29 percent of adults with chronic medical conditions have serious mental illness.

The foundation said it looked for organizations with collaborative, co-located and integrated service models for patients with a range of medical and behavioral health needs, including support for their families.

The grant supports integrated care in two of UMass Memorial Health Care’s three family practice residency sites: Hahnemann Family Health Center in Worcester and Barre Family Health Center, the foundation statement said. At Worcester-based Community Healthlink, which serves people with mental health and other problems throughout Central Massachusetts, the grant will help support the Wellness Center.

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