St. Peter’s Health combines mental health services with primary care practices


The internal vaccination mandate at St. Peter’s Health Partners takes effect Tuesday. Unvaccinated staff will receive notices as the state’s requirement begins in the coming days.

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – In a nationally recognized new approach, St. Peter’s Health Partners (SPHP) combines mental health services with its primary care practices. In an effort by SPHP to increase patients’ response to treatment of mental health concerns they are removing barriers to getting care.

The idea behind this program is to combine treatments in a single practice that allows patients to comfortably express concerns of mental health issues, reducing the common barriers patients face due to work schedules, childcare, and transportation issues SPHP says.

“Ninety-five percent of care is provided telephonically, so the patient doesn’t have to physically go anywhere to receive treatment,” said Deb House, Integrated Care Coordination Services Clinical Executive at St. Peter’s Health Partners.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has recognized the SPHP behavioral health model, which has been featured in the CMS national publication of the ‘Best Practices’ spotlight program. A publication that is issued to primary practices nationally enrolled in this program.

St. Peter’s Health provides primary care practices with a behavioral health manager and a consulting psychiatrist in the treatment of patients that express symptoms of depression, anxiety, or other mental health-related issues. Patients can then receive immediate treatment within their primary care practices with whom they would most feel at ease.

“This is not unique to St. Peter’s. It’s a large problem in our country,” said Susan Mrakovcic-Kane,
Supervisor, Social Services, Care Coordination at SPHP. “If treatment is kept in place with primary care physicians across the country, tens of thousands more patients could be reached.”

In March of 2020, St. Peter’s internal medicine integrated this model at its first location on Hoosick Street, in Troy.

Other locations include:

  • Family Health Center, Troy
  • Capital Region Family Health Center
  • Internal Medicine, Troy
  • Family Medical Group
  • Family Care, Cohoes
  • Family Practice, Clifton Park
  • Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

CMS intends to use St. Peter’s integrated behavioral health as a guide for other facilities across the nation looking to build their own model within their primary care practices. For more information visit the St. Peter’s Health Partners Medical Associates website.

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