Behavioral-primary care program launched in state

Baltimore Medical System won a nearly half-million grant to develop a program for patients with both chronic diseases and behavior health needs.

The $498,906 from CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield will be used to develop a unique-in-the-state turn on patient centered medical homes, a model where a team of providers work to achieve better quality care for lower costs by coordinating patient care.

The participants in this program will get integrated care blending primary care, psychiatric care, low-threshold counseling and social services.

The money is part of a $8.5 million patient centered medical home initiative by CareFirst. It plans to fund programs in 16 health clinics.

Baltimore Medical System serves medically underserved communities in the state, including uninsured, non-English speaking and other groups through federally qualified health centers. About 45,000 patients a year get services through six community health centers and eight school-based centers.

“Baltimore Medical System shares CareFirst’s commitment to providing essential health care for patients in Baltimore’s underserved communities who are coping with multiple chronic diseases,” said Jay Wolvovsky, system president and CEO, in a statement. “Under this grant, our team of health care providers will be able to treat not only existing chronic diseases, but also mental health disorders that may have never been addressed otherwise.”

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