Omaha recovery center launches new clinic to promote follow-up visits

CHI Health has launched a clinic providing primary mental healthcare to serve patients who often don't follow up with their primary care doctor.
Published: Mar. 10, 2023 at 5:21 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Patients who get mental health care often don’t follow up with their primary care doctor.

Lasting Hope Recovery Center is taking a major step to take care of that. They’re calling this new strategy a reverse clinic.

“We need to treat patients as a whole person rather than focusing on little snippets here and there.”

All across the nation, the need for mental health is at the forefront.

Here in the metro, Jona Kerschner, a nurse practitioner at Lasting Hope, sees many people who undergo mental health care don’t have proper access to primary care services.

“Vulnerable populations such as patients suffering behavioral health issues are often put on the wayside, but it’s as important as their mental stability,” Kerschner said.

Kerschner works with patients suffering from behavioral health issues who haven’t been treated for things like blood pressure, diabetes, and sleep apnea.

That is why CHI Health Clinic is now going to Lasting Hope to see patients for primary care services.

“We came up with a solution of doing that reverse integration so we’re actually taking primary care practitioners and embedding them into the mental health clinic,” said Kenneth McCartney, CHI’s market director of outpatient behavioral services. “So, those patients can walk to their primary care appointments from their mental health care appointments.”

The dual-purpose clinic is located near 25th and Harney. McCartney said the former office space is a place where patients can vocalize their needs.

“We worked with an organization to invest capital to create a new reception desk for patients, a new welcoming waiting room, two clinic offices where it hits all the bells and whistles and all the medical treatments can happen in-house,” McCartney said. “So, we’re not sending patients somewhere else.”

This clinic will offer vaccines, women’s exams, and health promotion screenings. They’re looking to grow and expand to other cities in Nebraska.

As of right now, their clinic is open only to its patients on Tuesdays and Thursdays. As patient volume grows, the goal is to expand the clinic’s hours to weekdays.