GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. At Primary Care Partners, it's not uncommon to see a doctor and a professional counselor working together to help a patient.
This year, a new partnership between Behavioral Health and Wellness and Primary Care Partners physicians is helping about 130 patients a month through teamwork.
Professional Counselor for Behavioral Health & Wellness Center, Shelley Millsap, said, "We seen an increase in depression when somebody is diagnosed with a long term illness and so being able to work alongside their provider or physician as a team can really help monitor their mental status and help them keep motivated and achieve their goals."
The program is funded through federal and state grants. Additional staff were hired to be on call whenever a doctor needs them.
Michael Pramenko, M.D. works as the Executive Director for Primary Care Partners. He said, "As a physician I know that I'm providing better care for those patients that come in and have behavior health issues that really deserve to see a behavior health specialists, a psychologist for some of those issues."
Mesa County has one the highest suicide rates in the state. This is one of the reasons this new type of care is so important. "Finding more effective ways to treat patients increasing the value of healthcare is really critical to on the ongoing reform of our healthcare system," said Pramenko.