New Psychiatry Access Clinic Promotes Clinical Integration

By Randy Jernejcic, MD
Vice President, Clinical Integration

UH Clinical Update - April 2019

Across UH, primary care providers and office staff have embraced the Point-of-Service Scheduling initiative, using Schedule Me Now technology to book referral appointments for patients with UH specialists – all before they leave the primary care office. This level of engagement has obviously benefitted our patients, but it has also had a side benefit: It has revealed areas where patient access to UH specialists remains challenging.

We’re using this information and acting on it. Because of everyone’s hard work in implementing Point-of-Service Scheduling, we’re happy to present an innovative solution to improve access in a high-priority specialty: psychiatry.

The Psychiatry Access Clinic at the W.O. Walker Building began as a pilot project in August 2018, spearheaded by Patrick Runnels, MD, Program Director for Public and Community Psychiatry at UH Cleveland Medical Center, with support from Chair of Psychiatry Robert J. Ronis, MD, MPH. Already it has produced great results. The clinic provides fast access to time-limited consultations, typically lasting between one and four visits. Patients are often seen the next day after a referral, but generally within a maximum of five business days. Most cases take just one to two visits, after which the patient is returned for maintenance care to their primary care provider, with detailed and clear instructions about what is going on and what to do. Importantly, the primary care provider receives clinical notes from the treating psychiatrist through the AEMR, labeled as “Psychiatric Consultation initial/follow-up” notes in the assessment and plan section.

To date, about 30 UH primary care providers across four practices have taken advantage of the Psychiatry Access Clinic, providing crucial access for more than 100 patients. We are rolling this service out to more practices and will continue to keep you updated as more providers and practices come on board.

To refer a patient to this clinic, you simply make a referral as you normally would, but select "Adult Psychiatry Access Clinic Referral.” The clinic’s scheduler calls the patient within a few hours and gets them in as soon as is convenient for the patient, with an average wait time of less than a week. When making the referral, simply put the reason for referral and any specific questions you want answered in your assessment or plan for your most recent note. If there is a need for counseling, the Psychiatry Access Clinic will take care of that referral when the patient is seen. Patients with chronic issues who require ongoing care will be referred through to long-term providers. For practices not on our AEMR, offices can still refer their patients to the UH Psychiatry Access Clinic by calling their intake line at 216-844-2400.

Please note: The Psychiatry Access Clinic is only available to patients age 18 or older, and it does not provide treatment for primary addiction, including Medication-Assisted Treatment.

As you begin to use this new resource, please give us your feedback. We know this is just one of the many innovations and solutions UH providers and staff will develop to help deliver high-quality, high-value care to our patients.

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