Open Accessibility Menu

CalHIVE Grant Allows PVHMC to Integrate Behavioral Health into Primary Care Visits to Address Mental Health Shortage

  • Category: News
  • Posted On:
CalHIVE Grant Allows PVHMC to Integrate Behavioral Health into Primary Care Visits to Address Mental Health Shortage

To improve access to mental health services, Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center (PVHMC) has received a three-year grant from the CalHIVE Behavioral Health Integration Improvement Collaborative operated by Pacific Business Group on Health’s California Quality Collaborative (CQC) to integrate behavioral health into its primary care appointments.

Patients who come in for primary care appointments at the Pomona Valley Health Center in Pomona will be screened with a questionnaire for behavioral health needs. If the patient’s score indicates a need, the care team will contact Dan Blocker, PhD, LMFT, director of behavioral health at PVHMC, to either conduct a patient assessment at that time, or arrange one for a later date. The program aims to reduce long wait times that patients often face to receive behavioral health services.

“Working with our primary care physicians, we can address depression, anxiety and substance use disorder and develop a plan to improve the patient’s overall physical and mental health,” said Dr. Blocker. “We’re grateful to this grant and for the opportunity to implement this innovative approach to better address the demand for mental health services in our community.”

California is facing a behavioral health (mental health and substance use disorder) workforce shortage. Research conducted by the Healthforce Center at the University of California, San Francisco shows that statewide shortage is projected to grow, leaving the state with fewer providers than needed to meet demand by 2028. Today, roughly eight million Californians, the majority of whom are Latino, Black, and Native American, live in Mental Health Professional Shortage Areas, a federal designation for geographic regions, populations, or facilities experiencing a shortage of mental health professionals.

PVHMC is among eight facilities in the state to receive the grant to launch or expand behavioral health screening, treatment, and referrals for patients with mild-to-moderate depression, substance use disorders and other conditions.

PVHMC expects to start the behavioral health screenings in the primary care setting this summer.