The purpose of Bucks County Health Connections is to integrate physical and behavioral healthcare by promoting healthy lifestyles, identifying and educating consumers with complex medical issues such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, etc.
We currently have three nurses working as Nurse Navigators within this program. We also have Certified Peer Specialists on our team to engage smokers and other individuals who are having difficulties managing their physical health issues.
The role of the Navigator is to engage the consumer ensuring coordination of their care with Primary Care Physicians, Psychiatrists, Specialists, Pharmacies, and other Health Care Providers and to develop a Wellness Plan.
Certified Peer Specialists
Research has shown that peers have more success than non-peers in getting another person to create healthier lifestyles. As a result, one of our Certified Peer Specialists (CPS) runs these support groups. Our CPS serves as a role model and is able to successfully engage peers and provide support on a variety of health topics.
Each Wellness Plan includes:
- A nursing assessment
- A physical by your Primary Physician (must be within the past year)
- A psychiatric evaluation (must be within the past year)
- Monitoring of vital signs
- Interpretation of laboratory results
- Assistance with weight control
- Smoking cessation
- Education regarding physical health conditions or testing that is required
To participate, you must have:
- A major mental health diagnosis
- Some form of Medicaid (can be in combination with other insurances such as commercial or Medicare)
In 2009, the Center for Health Care Strategies launched a multi-state, national effort to improve quality of care and reduce expenditures for Medicaid beneficiaries. The program was targeted to consumers who had complex medical and behavioral health needs.
Pennsylvania was among one of the states chosen and Bucks, Montgomery and Delaware Counties were chosen to begin a pilot program.
This initiative is aimed at prevention and improvement of the health status of individuals living with serious mental illness. There is a strong correlation of Physical Health and Behavioral Health problems affecting one another.