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CareOregon, partners launch Bridge Clinic to increase access to psychiatric services for youth on the Oregon Health Plan and train the next generation of providers

Aug 30, 2022, 15:37 PM

Photo of the Bridge Clinic team, including attending psychiatrist Cortney Taylor, M.D., Kristen Halaas, QMHP, and Maddy Jacobs, OHSU child fellow. Not pictured is Monica Uppal, OHSU child fellow.

This summer, CareOregon, LifeWorks NW and Oregon Health & Science University are teaming up to help close the gaps in access to psychiatric services available to youth on the Oregon Health Plan and train the next generation of providers. Known as the Bridge Clinic, this facility offers brief outpatient psychiatric services, including medication management, for youth waiting to receive ongoing outpatient behavioral health support.

“Ensuring that members can get the care they need in a timeframe that works for them or their family is a top priority,” said Amy Shea Reyes, Behavioral Health Program Manager at CareOregon. “We are seeing the need for psychiatric services exceed capacity, leading to longer wait times for appointments. Our goal is to help youth and families maintain progress by not adding the stress of having to figure out how to get their medication needs met while waiting for a behavioral health appointment.”

The Bridge Clinic is designed to serve youth who are transitioning out of the hospital or a higher level of care setting, such as residential services, back into the community.

“Gaps in care create high-risk moments for people who have complicated illnesses, who have experienced a recent behavioral health crisis or who are transitioning back to the community from hospitals and residential programs,” said Ajit Jetmalani, M.D., OHSU Director of Child Psychiatry. “This collaboration between OHSU Division of Child Psychiatry, LifeWorks NW and CareOregon is an example of how people working together can solve challenges creatively to the benefit of the people we serve.”

Its short-term services include: 

  • Psychiatric medication management (consultation and treatment)
  • Brief individual and family psychotherapy interventions
  • Ongoing safety assessment and planning
  • Care coordination (facilitating transitions and coordinating care between programs)

Importantly, the Bridge Clinic is also providing opportunities to train the next generation of child psychiatry providers and attract more skilled clinicians to our region.

“The Bridge Clinic not only addresses an urgent clinical need, but also provides an opportunity for child psychiatrists in training to learn about community mental health,” said Karen Bos, M.D., Assistant Professor in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at OHSU and LifeWorks NW’s Medical Director. “My decision to focus on community mental health in my career was shaped by the experiences I was exposed to during training. Increasing opportunities for psychiatrists in training to be part of our teams at LifeWorks NW is a chance for us to strengthen workforce development in community psychiatry.”

So far, the clinic is already hearing positive feedback from its first cohort of fellows who are supervised by a board certified child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist.

“I’m excited about the new Bridge Clinic and am looking forward to helping bridge psychiatric treatment for these children and their families,” said Maddy Jacobs, D.O., Child Psychiatry fellow at OHSU. “This will not only be extremely valuable experience during my training as a fellow, but also help address a critical need for the region.”

This new collaborative model is funded by a $2 million grant from CareOregon and staffed by partners at OHSU and Lifeworks NW. The clinic is staffed by tripled-boarded attending psychiatrist Cortney Taylor, M.D., two OHSU Child Psychiatry fellows who will rotate every 6 months, a Qualified Mental Health Professional and care coordinators. 

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