FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. – A team of Soldiers and Department of the Army civilians were formally recognized Oct. 21 for their innovative process-improvement initiative that streamlined patient access to behavioral health resources enhancing patient outcomes and medical readiness.
U.S. Army Surgeon General and Commanding General, U.S. Army Medical Command Lt. Gen. R. Scott Dingle and Army Medicine Chief of Staff and Chief of the Army Medical Department Civilian Corps Mr. Richard Beauchemin presented a team from Blanchfield Army Community Hospital on Fort Campbell, Kentucky with the coveted Army Medicine Wolf Pack Award during a virtual award ceremony.
“You all should be extremely pleased because there are a lot of entries that go in for the Wolf Pack Award and for you all to receive this extreme honor speaks volumes about the impact you and the entire team are having not just on the installation there, but in the entire United States Army,” said Dingle, over a virtual teleconference.
Created by the 43rd Army Surgeon General and the fourth AMEDD Civilian Corps Chief, the Wolf Pack Award is issued quarterly and recognizes exceptional teamwork by an integrated group of military and civilian team members focused on excellence in support of Army Medicine.
BACH’s team was recognized for the second quarter of fiscal year 2020 for their efforts to better incorporate the hospital’s behavioral health consultants within the hospital’s primary care clinics to enhance patient outcomes and medical readiness. During the initiative, internal behavioral health consultants were assigned to each of BACH’s medical homes, where beneficiaries receive their primary medical care. Consultants support healthy behavior changes such as increasing exercise, decreasing work or home stress, quitting smoking, cholesterol and blood pressure management, and weight management. They also help patients develop plans for improving sleep, managing diabetes, managing chronic pain, migraine management, and modifying alcohol use. Prior to the process improvement project, which began in 2018, their services were underutilized.
“Having behavioral health consultants within our primary care clinics is a great benefit for all enrolled beneficiaries to receive behavioral health support, whether immediately following a primary care visit or scheduled at a later time,” said Col. Patrick T. Birchfield, hospital commander. “This system makes the referral process easy for both the patient and the medical team.”
The behavioral health consultants operate within primary care treatment teams, offering behavioral interventions, counseling, and various treatment modalities and work hand-in-hand with primary care teams to improve a patient’s overall health and quality of life.
BACH’s project focused on four main areas: increasing referrals, improving integration into a holistic model of care, increasing self-referral appointments and warm hand-off of patients to behavioral health consultants, and removing barriers to referring patients.
The project more than doubled the number of face-to-face clinical encounters per day and decreased the patient no-show rate by 15 percent. The team instituted multiple revisions and changes that enhanced the overall patient-centered medical experience, and streamlined patient access for numerous behavioral health needs including reformulating their methods as a result of the pandemic.