New Clinic at UM Shore Medical Center at Dorchester Assists Behavioral Health Patients After Discharge from Hospital
Early in 2016, UM Shore Regional Health’s Shore Behavioral Health launched a new program, the Bridge Clinic, which assists patients who are in need of psychiatric assistance and support immediately following discharge from an inpatient behavioral health treatment program.
"Too often, patients who have been hospitalized for behavioral health issues either have not been in the care of a community behavioral health provider and/or experience a delay in getting scheduled for an appointment after discharge," says Bill Belcher, who came to Shore Behavioral Health in October, 2015 and serves as coordinator for the clinic. "For up to 90 days, the Bridge Clinic 'bridges the gap' between a patient’s discharge and his or her first connection with a permanent mental health care provider in the community,” he adds.
A licensed clinical mental health counselor since 2000 and licensed in addictions and co-occurring disorders since 2014, Belcher previously worked in Federally Qualified Health Centers as a behavioral health specialist collaborating with physicians, nurses and other health care professionals to promote physical and emotional wellness. He also maintained a private practice treating patients with chronic pain, anxiety and co-occurring disorders.
The Bridge Clinic’s services include: ensuring continuity of care by providing therapy coverage for patients until they can be connected to an outpatient mental health care provider and providing follow-up support; collaborating with community mental health providers and resources to keep patients safe and from needing emergency care; providing walk-in urgent care and counseling and psychiatric treatment; and, offering a weekly support group for patients in transition.
"The support group has been an especially strong success," says Belcher. "Sometimes we have three or four people, but we've also had as many as 15. Each patient can bring one family member, and they all find it beneficial to hear each other’s stories and share information."
Providers working with the Bridge Clinic and its patients are Eric Anderson, MD, FAPA Medical Director, Shore Behavioral Health; and Manjula Borge, MD, staff psychiatrists. Mary Webb, RN, CARN, provides nursing assistance and Rebecca Schulnick provides administrative support.
The Bridge Clinic schedule includes: walk-in assistance, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 8 a.m. -12 p.m.; scheduled appointments for counseling, weekdays, 1-4 p.m.; scheduled appointments for psychiatric treatment, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3-5 p.m.; and support group meetings, Tuesdays, 6-7:30 p.m. (open to the community, no registration required).
For more information about Bridge Clinic services and patient eligibility, call 410-228-5511, ext. 2140 or 1686, or email Bill.Belcher@umm.edu