The yoga sessions and health bingo nights you’ll find at an Oak Street Health center are the first sign that it’s not your typical healthcare facility. With a mission to “rebuild healthcare as it should be,” the network of primary care practices for Medicare patients focuses on caring for the whole person to keep patients healthy and promote their well-being.
For Oak Street Health, providing quality mental health services is key to its integrated care approach. Founded in Chicago in 2013, the organization now serves 40,000 Medicare patients across five states – one-third of whom experience a mental health condition. As a value-based care provider, Oak Street is also incentivized to keep total healthcare costs down for each patient by focusing on preventive care.
By delivering behavioral health services directly to patients, Oak Street sought to help them get the care they need, improve their overall health and reduce expensive – and sometimes avoidable – hospital admissions. As a rapidly expanding network based in underserved neighborhoods, Oak Street also needed a way to access high-quality mental health providers and scale its services quickly. Recognizing that telepsychiatry aligned with its mission to provide efficient, effective whole-person care, Oak Street launched its mental health service program with Regroup in 2016.
Through its leading integrated telepsychiatry services, Regroup empowers healthcare organizations to bring quality mental health care services directly to patients, regardless of where they live. Since beginning their partnership, Regroup has provided Oak Street with the clinicians, tools and flexible support it needs to make the program a success.
As Oak Street works to optimize mental health care delivery and patient utilization, Regroup’s services have evolved alongside the organization’s needs. Over the past two years, Oak Street has added on-site behavioral health specialists at its locations to support patient engagement, and Regroup’s clinicians work closely with in-person staff to develop individualized care plans for each patient. Regroup has also helped to establish effective telepsychiatry technology, with both Regroup clinicians and other Oak Street telepsychiatrists relying on the RegroupConnect™ videoconferencing platform for patient sessions.
The two telepsychiatrists currently serving Oak Street have established ongoing relationships with their own patient populations over time, ensuring continuity of care and regular follow-up, explains Katherine Suberlak, Oak Street’s VP of population health. The clinicians are experienced at working within primary care settings, are flexible in accommodating scheduling changes when needed, and are accessible to on-site primary care and behavioral health teams to ensure a collaborative approach to care. That hands-on support extends to the rest of the management team, Suberlak says, with Regroup working closely with Oak Street to assess the quality of care and workflow and to ensure continuous quality improvement in service delivery.
Since implementing its telepsychiatry program with Regroup, Oak Street has been meeting its patients’ significant mental health needs with an effective, scalable program. Key benefits include:
Increasing patient utilization. Oak Street’s unique integrated approach is encouraging more patients to take advantage of behavioral health services and reducing no-show “A Regroup telepsychiatrist and the on-site behavioral health specialist now see certain high-risk patients together, helping to improve care collaboration and patient engagement, and ensuring follow-through on the psychiatrist’s recommendations,” population health specialist Lydia Vazquez says.
A financially stable program. As a value-based care provider, Oak Street is able to provide its Medicare patients with transportation to clinic Offering mental health services virtually on-site helps Oak Street ensure more patients are getting the care they need, resulting in healthier patients and fewer expensive acute care episodes.
A best practice-focused With support from Regroup, Oak Street has uncovered what works for its clinics and is applying those practices as it continues to expand. That includes establishing efficient patient check-in procedures, using e-prescribing for medications, using an electronic health record that different clinicians can access to provide collaborative care, and having a consistent clinician at each site to promote continuity of care.
“What we appreciate most about Regroup is their partnership and ongoing collaboration. As we work to optimize our delivery of mental health care services, they are always willing to work with us to find new ways to serve Oak Street and our patients effectively.”
Katherine Suberlak, VP of Population Health, Oak Street Health
The telehealth industry is changing rapidly. Stay informed and get the latest news, events and resources delivered straight to your inbox.