We’ve read a lot lately about the prospect of social isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic raising incidence of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and other behavioral concerns in the general public. Looking back farther, you may recall a handful of urgent care operators trying to develop a line of behavioral services in their communities. Could the current public health crisis serve as a conduit to finally get such initiatives off the ground? Freeman Health System seems to think it could work in its 30 locations in Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma. The company’s Ozark Center Comprehensive Behavioral Health Services is reaching out to Facebook users with an ad prompting “Behavioral health emergency? No need to go to the ER,” before suggesting that the user call their office or visit the website, and promising “urgent care for behavioral health issues.” If you don’t happen to have a mental health professional on staff, consider aligning your operation with a local practice, clinic, or hospital department. A handful of urgent care operators have had good results with using telehealth to link patients in crisis with therapists and other professionals.
Behavioral Health and Urgent Care Seem a Natural Fit—Could the ‘Right Time’ Finally Be Here?