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On Oct. 17 a large group of supporters gathered for a “virtual tour” – no hardhats needed -- of the Shoreline Family Health Care facility being constructed inside 221 West Main St. (Lakeview Center) in Branford. The unique facility, expected to open in December 2019, will offer fully-integrated and accessible medical, mental health and substance use treatment in a single location. Pam Johnson/The Sound | Buy This Photo)
BHcare president and CEO Roberta Cook points to the waiting area among the many spaces being created for the new Shoreline Family Health Care facility in Branford. Pam Johnson/The Sound | Buy This Photo)
Branford First Selectman Jamie Cosgrove welcomed the arrival of Shoreline Family Health Care and the support services it will provide for residents and organizations who assist those in need local communities. Pam Johnson/The Sound | Buy This Photo)
The 10,000 square-foot indoor space under construction in Lakeview Plaza has been designed by Moser Pilon Nelson Architects (Wethersfield) and will include an on-site pharmacy, blood draw and testing lab, as well as both medical and behavioral health services offices, patient care spaces and meeting areas. Pam Johnson/The Sound | Buy This Photo)
BHcare & FHCHC Collaboration Bringing in New Medical and Behavorial Health Services Entity
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A unique collaboration between BHcare and Fair Haven Community Health Care (FHCHC) is creating a new entity and health care facility, Shoreline Family Health Care, in Branford. Currently on track to open in December 2019, Shoreline Family Health Care will offer accessible primary medical care and behavioral health care services for all ages, in one location.
On Thursday, Oct. 17, BHcare and FHCHC officials ushered a large group of supporters through a "virtual tour" – no hardhats needed -- at the 10,000 square-foot facility being constructed inside 221 West Main St. (Lakeview Center). Funding to finance the construction came from state bonding and federal grant money, said BHcare president and CEO Roberta Cook.
Shoreline Family Health Care will offer a sliding fee scale, accept Medicare and Medicaid/HUSKY and most commercial insurance. The new care group expects to collaborate with area schools, social service organizations, primary care practices, private practitioners, therapists, social workers, insurers, public agencies and others to provide services clients need.
"Our vision is to create a facility that collaborates with all the local agencies...whomever is out there and has a need, we'll work with you," said Cook.
The facility's team approach will bring together primary care providers, psychiatrists, behavioral health professionals and care managers under one roof. That also allows Shoreline Family Health Care the flexibility to provide patients with "integrated care," if needed, said Dr. Suzanne Lagarde, president and CEO of New Haven-based FHCHC.
"I can tell you as a doctor that it is impossible to truly treat somebody with conditions such as diabetes, asthma, Crones disease, even cancer; if that person has a co-existing emotional or behavioral health problem. All those conditions have to be treated together, and smartly," said Lagarde.
The facility's design (Moser Pilon Nelson Architechts, Wethersfield) includes a spacious and accessible waiting room; Care Team workspaces (two large areas where behavioral health staff, nursing staff and doctors will work together, rather than in separate offices); traditional exam rooms as well as patient care rooms (designed for medical and/or behavior health consultation; or both during one visit, if needed); two large group meeting rooms, other client spaces and administrative space.
Shoreline Family Health Care's facility will also include "one-stop shopping" for busy clients, said Lagarde -- including an on-site pharmacy and pharmacist, who can help provide medication management advice; on-site blood draw and lab testing (Quest Diagnostics), state of the art medical equipment and technology and online patient portal services through MyChart.
"The more care we can provide in one setting, the better," said Lagarde, adding, "...we are really excited about this. We really think this is going to push the envelope in terms of care in this community."
Branford First Selectman Jamie Cosgrove thanked BHcare and FHCHC for working to develop Shoreline Family Health Care, saying the new operation is a welcome addition to the shoreline area that will help area communities provided needed services and "fill in the gaps."
"One thing we continually hear both in government and in business is that we need to deliver services and programs effectively and efficiently. This concept [is] really about delivering services effectively; bringing both the medical and the behavioral/mental health not only under one roof, but as a collaboration, in creating a new entity. It will provide and offer greater access within our communities, but also fill in the gaps that we all recognize in medical and mental health," said Cosgrove. "Through this concept, we hope not only to have your organization provide the services that you have done for so long in our communities; but also to fill in those gaps."
BHcare is licensed by the Department of Public Health and designated by the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services as the local mental health authority, with facilities in Branford for nearly 40 years serving the shoreline towns of Branford, East Haven, Guilford, Madison, North Branford and North Haven; and other facilities serving the valley towns of Ansonia, Derby, Oxford, Seymour and Shelton. The comprehensive regional health organization provides behavioral health services, education, prevention and wellness to assist those impacted by issues of mental health, substance abuse and domestic violence.
FHCHC serves New Haven County with its high quality, accredited clinical care facilities, school and satellite locations. In September 2019, FHCHC once again was recognized as a high achieving health center by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HRSA), receiving the gold level designation. The designation places FHCHC in the top 10 percent of the 1,400 community health centers across the country.
FHCHC has a location in East Haven (Trolley Square). About four years ago, FHCHC started providing primary care assistance for some patients at BHcare's Sycamore Way location in Branford, said Cook.
As Cook shared with the guests on Oct. 17, from that collaboration grew the concept to join forces and create Shoreline Family Health Care.
"It was pretty apparent quickly that we had the same vision and mission; and it really was about the people we serve; and the commitment and the passion we had to ensure that all of our patients and clients get everything they need," said Cook. "Three years later, after many meetings, Sue and I are here today to show you want we are doing in Branford."
Both organizations provide an important piece of the services that will be offered at Shoreline Family Health Care, added Lagarde.
"BHcare has provided behavioral health care for decades. If we were to come in here and try to do this without BHcare, it would take decades to get to the same point we are literally going to be at on Day One; and the same is true for BHcare [of FHCHC services]," said Lagarde.
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