Beaufort County to Increase Access to Care for Patients with Diabetes and Behavioral Health Needs

Investments Part of Long-Term Healthy Places NC Initiative

Beaufort County, with support from the Trust, is enhancing primary care support and increasing access for uninsured community members diagnosed with both behavioral health needs and diabetes. One program also will serve low-income individuals in Pitt and Greene counties. The investments are part of the Trust’s Healthy Places NC, a long-term initiative aimed at improving the quality of life and health in rural, financially disadvantaged North Carolina counties.

Vidant Beaufort Hospital received $753,886 to develop a comprehensive care management and transitional care program for low-income individuals diagnosed with both diabetes and severe mental illness. Vidant will target 250 dually-diagnosed patients for care management, care coordination, primary care, and pharmaceutical assistance.

“Behavioral health and chronic disease, especially diabetes, are major issues plaguing our community. We tend to treat these conditions separately but patients dealing with both certainly don’t experience their effects separately,” said Harvey Case, president of Vidant Beaufort Hospital. “We need to do a better job of coordinating care so that patients receive the appropriate care at the appropriate time.”

The Trust also awarded $558,227 to Access East to assist them with developing an interdisciplinary clinical pharmacy and primary care support program that will target 500 to 550 dually-diagnosed patients from Metropolitan Community Health Services. The program will enlist a behavioral health pharmacist to conduct medication management, patient education, and to provide a supporting role to primary care providers.

A separate Access East program received $353,780 that will go toward screening all referred patients (around 300) and those re-enrolling (around 900) in their HealthAssist coordinated care program—which facilitates access to care through coordination of primary and specialty medical care, chronic disease management education and prescription medication assistance—for Affordable Care Act health plans. Those who do not qualify for health insurance will be enrolled in the uninsured network of care.

“Beaufort County is making tremendous strides to improve the quality of and access to care across the county. The community identified a gap in services for a group of residents and is working together to make a difference in their lives,” said Jason Baisden, program officer for the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust. “These three projects will really help to improve the intersection between behavioral health and diabetes in this community.”

Beaufort County joined the Healthy Places NC initiative in May 2012. The Trust plans to invest $100 million in 10 to 12 rural counties over a 10-year period. To date, the Trust has invited seven counties—Beaufort, Burke, Edgecombe, Halifax, McDowell, Nash and Rockingham—to participate and will announce additional counties in the coming years. In each county, Healthy Places work and projects are driven by the community’s concerns, as well as by where the Trust thinks there’s an opportunity for sustainable, long-term change. For a complete list of grants approved by the Trust’s Health Care Division this fall, click here.