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Local Clinic Adds Behavioral Health Services Sweet Medical Center Now Offers Integrated Care


July 18, 2018


CHINOOK, MT. July 13, 2018 – With the addition of Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, Dustin Ratliff, Sweet Medical Center (SMC) is now able to reach its goal of providing Integrated Behavioral Health services to its patients.

Integrated Behavioral Health, or Integrated Care, is an approach to caring for patients using a team of professionals in the primary care (medical clinic) setting. A team of professionals works with patients to address their physical, behavioral and emotional well-being. Behavioral health and physical health are interrelated, so providing behavioral health care in a primary medical setting has been found to reduce stigma, while leading to cost savings and improved patient outcomes. An integrated model allows for a more comprehensive plan of treatment and patients' progress is better monitored.

Dustin Ratliff, LCPC explains that, "integrated care differs from traditional therapy in that it results in a higher quality of care because of the improved communication between the patient, behavioral health provider and primary care provider. In addition, the use of medications and therapy together has been proven to be more successful combatting depression and anxiety than either approach alone."

Ratliff might check in with the patient in the exam room or a visit may be scheduled with him for typically 30 minutes. The therapies used fall under the cognitive-behavioral umbrella and the length of treatment is typically 8-15 sessions, with improvements observed in as few as four. High emphasis is placed on education, consultation and goals for increasing an individual's ability to adapt to life problems and stressors while increasing contact with sources of reward.

Dana Pyette, SMC's Chief Executive Officer assures patients that their experience with the integrated model will be smooth and comfortable as they will just notice a slightly larger team of dedicated and caring professionals working with them to improve their health and quality of life. "The beauty of this model is that it's seamless. Your primary care provider is still leading the team and coordinating your care, but he or she will now have additional resources in-house to work with patients on solutions to their healthcare challenges. Another exciting announcement is that we'll be adding an additional Behavioral Health Provider next month!"


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