Burrell Behavioral Health has signed a Letter of Intent to form a strategic affiliation with Fordland Clinic, a Federally Qualified Health Center in southwest Missouri. While Burrell specializes in behavioral health and Fordland Clinic specializes in primary and dental care, they serve many of the same individuals in many of the same communities, including Webster, Stone, Greene, Christian, and Taney counties. This partnership will dramatically increase the capacity of both not-for-profit agencies to offer a full continuum of care – especially in rural and underserved communities.
The agreement would allow Burrell clients seeking behavioral health services to also receive primary care at its Main Center in Springfield without traveling to a different location. Simultaneously, Fordland Clinic will expand its behavioral health services by integrating with Burrell at its current clinics in Webster and Stone counties. Following a period of due diligence, the two companies hope to announce a completed agreement by early summer. Current U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) guidelines would allow Fordland Clinic to begin providing primary care services at Burrell’s Main Center location on East Bradford Parkway, in Springfield, with additional locations coming online as approved. Under the agreement, Burrell and Fordland Clinic would remain autonomous and retain their own boards of directors.
A New Way of Serving Our Communities
Missouri is one of eight states participating in the three-year exploratory phase of the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) program, which was established in 2016 by the Excellence in Mental Health Act, sponsored in the U.S. Senate by Missouri Senator Roy Blunt. Under this innovative funding model, Community Mental Health Centers like Burrell are reimbursed in a cost-based system, similar to Federally Qualified Health Clinics like Fordland Clinic. Because of these new synergies, Burrell now has the resources – and, with this affiliation with Fordland Clinic, the partner – to begin incorporating basic medical and dental services into its continuum of care, with the end goal of better treatment for the whole person the very first time he or she walks through the door.
“Our clients shouldn’t have to think of mental health and physical health as different things,” said Burrell Behavioral Health President and CEO C.J. Davis. “We know that more than half of those seeking behavioral services don’t have a primary care physician, while more than half of all primary care treatments would benefit from behavioral health consultation. So integrating these services under the same roof just makes sense.” He added, “In Fordland Clinic we have found a partner equally committed to ensuring our shared clients experience care as a fully integrated Primary Care-Behavioral Health (PCBH) system.”
For Fordland Clinic, the affiliation brings Burrell’s deep experience in outpatient therapy, psychiatry and substance-use treatment directly into their clinics, located in Fordland and Kimberling City.
“Many of our primary care patients suffer from depression, anxiety, or substance abuse,” said Fordland Clinic CEO Joan Twiton. “These issues can have a significant impact on an individual’s overall health. By partnering with Burrell and offering integrated services in the same location, we can provide higher quality, coordinated care to those we serve.”
A Trend of Integration
Over the last year, Burrell’s partnerships with area health systems have significantly increased communities’ access to behavioral health services, with these embedded programs reaching more than 800 new clients in the last 12 months. These individuals received immediate behavioral health treatment due to Burrell’s expanded presence, as well as – depending on their needs – an improved pathway to more comprehensive care. Many of these individuals may not have accessed behavioral health services at all had Burrell not taken steps to be present in a setting where they were already receiving care.
“Partnerships and further integration between health centers and our community mental health agencies will greatly enrich healthcare delivery for all Missourians,” said Brent McGinty, Chief Executive Officer of the Missouri Coalition for Behavioral Health. “Our vision is to assist this drive to improve overall population health management. Partnerships like this one between Burrell and Fordland Clinic will lead to similar models in the future.”
About Fordland Clinic:
Established in 1996, Fordland Clinic is a nonprofit community health center offering family practice, dental, and mental health services with a focus on prevention. Locations in Fordland and Kimberling City employ doctors, nurse practitioners, dentists, dental hygienists, and behavioral health counselors.
About Burrell Behavioral Health:
Burrell Behavioral Health, established in 1977, is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, and the second largest Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) in Missouri. Burrell works with more than 40,000 clients as the state-contracted Community Mental Health Clinic (CMHC) in 17 counties, with approximately 130 licensed providers offering a full continuum of care through an integrated network. Burrell’s services include individual therapy and counseling, addiction recovery, psychiatric and medication management, educational and therapeutic groups, crisis intervention, adult stabilization, case management, residential treatment, diagnostic testing and evaluations and developmental disability support.