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Pellston's Hornet Health Center launches new model of health care delivery

PELLSTON - A major grant is revolutionizing the way health care is delivered at the Hornet Health Center, a school health clinic located inside the Pellston High School/Middle School and operated by the Health Department of Northwest Michigan. The Michigan Departments of Community Health and Education have awarded a Transformational Healthcare Delivery Model grant focused on serving adolescents, enabling the Health Department to launch a fully-integrated primary care-behavioral health model that can reduce and prevent chronic disease and promote wellness by treating behavioral health needs equally with other health conditions.

"The primary care-behavioral health model is a cutting edge approach, recognizing that there's usually overlap between physical and mental health," said Joshua Meyerson, M.D., Medical Director for the Health Department. "By addressing mild behavioral health issues early on, they can be resolved quickly-sometimes in just a visit or two."

In a typical school clinic, behavioral health care is a specialty service. In the new model, primary care and mental health clinicians work as a team. They do more than make referrals to each other, which would require additional appointments. Instead, the student moves seamlessly from one clinician to the next in a single visit. The model recognizes the need for comprehensive care that focuses on physical and mental health. For example, a student who is struggling with depression may be losing sleep at night and subsequently having health issues, or a student with a new diagnosis of diabetes could benefit from counseling focused on living with a chronic disease. "We've found that many students at our school health clinics benefit from just a few visits with our behavioral health therapist," Meyerson said. "Now we have a model that allows just that. At the same time, more in-depth treatment is available for those who need it, right in the Hornet Health Center. Of course, we continue to refer students with more serious problems to our community partners, such as Community Mental Health." Meyerson added that the youth clinic doesn't take the place of a private doctor, and works to ensure all students have a health care provider outside of the school clinic.

The Hornet Health Center serves youth age 5-21, and the Ironmen Health Center in Mancelona serves youth age 10- 21. Children and adolescents from surrounding communities are welcome. All services are free if no payment source is available. Appointments and walk-ins are welcome year-round, during clinic hours. School-based clinics cannot provide family planning drugs or devices, or abortion counseling or referrals, according to Michigan law.

The Health Department of Northwest Michigan is mandated by the Michigan Public Health Code to promote wellness, prevent disease, provide quality healthcare, address health problems of vulnerable populations, and protect the environment for the residents and visitors of Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego Counties. For more information or to make an appointment, call the Hornet Health Center in Pellston at (231) 539-8550 or the Ironmen Health Center in Mancelona at (231) 587-9840.