Keeping ourselves safe through physical distancing means many people are experiencing social isolation as well as disruptions in mental health treatment. This combination is challenging, but it doesn’t need to be a period of darkness. Pierce County’s mental health community can help meet people’s needs without a waiting period.
If you have questions or needs around behavioral health, please call 2-1-1 as it’s now the single-entry point for behavioral health resources and referrals in Pierce County. This service, provided by United Way of Pierce County’s South Sound 2-1-1, is backed by resources and referrals through a centralized behavioral health resource tracker. The tracker features an up to date provider list from Pierce County’s first Behavioral Health Pod (BH Pod).
With the goal of reducing duplication and frustration for those seeking help the BH Pod aligns resources directly with South Sound 2-1-1 Behavioral Health Navigators. Instead of individuals and families who are seeking services being given an extensive list of resources to navigate, they’ll have navigation support on hand.
Elevate Health’s CEO Alisha Fehrenbacher is working at the forefront with Joe LeRoy, CEO of HopeSparks, the Elevate Health team, and the behavioral health provider community to keep the tracker up to date in close partnership with South Sound 2-1-1.
South Sound 2-1-1 currently employs two Behavioral Health Navigators. In the future, South Sound 2-1-1 plans to also employ two additional Family Resource Navigators who will help support its role as the central coordinating entity for Help Me Grow Pierce County. Help Me Grow is a national model that connects families to community resources in support healthy child development. In Pierce County, Help Me Grow strengthens and expands the system of support for children from prenatal care through age five.
The Behavioral Health Pod’s Three Initial Strategies
In addition to the creation of a central coordinating entity for behavioral health services, the BH Pod developed two additional strategies supporting the behavioral health system during COVID-19. The first is to discover and address immediate and emerging behavioral health system needs. The second is to identify other points of entry where behavioral health needs are recognized and coordinate necessary services with South Sound 2-1-1, as needed.
To discover and address immediate and emerging behavioral health system needs, the BH Pod is deploying the following tactics:
- Created and distributed a survey for behavioral health and substance use providers throughout Pierce County.
- Requesting that anyone who provides a behavioral health service or contracts with a behavioral health service complete this survey.
- Collecting and reviewing responses weekly. Survey discovery is summarized and fed back to Pierce County Connected and other standing Pierce County behavioral health workgroups.
The survey will address what is working and uncover new learnings for the BH Pod. Providers can complete or share the survey here.
Other points of entry where behavioral health needs are recognized for coordination with South Sound 2-1-1 include:
- Beacon Health Options (Pierce County Crisis System)
- Emergency Rooms
- First Responders
- Juvenile Court
- Pierce County Jail
- WA Recovery HelpLine
The BH Pod is actively engaged with the above entities. It also understands why the coordination of demographics and referral data will be important to understand as we learn the true impact of COVID-19.
Other Important Behavioral Health Info
While the BH Pod worked to create a one door system, the complete behavioral health system in Pierce County is made up of providers and services that are primarily driven by insurance types: both Medicaid (WA State Apple Health) and Commercial.
- Please note, the WA Health Plan Finder is extending enrollment at this time into Washington State Apple Health to help expand coverage during COVID-19. You can enroll in a plan or you can search to find a Health Insurance Navigator in your area.
- Depending on the plan, a provider may or may not be covered. Some Community Behavioral Health Agencies do not take commercial plans, and many private practice providers do not take Medicaid (WA State Apple Health). Cash payment, sliding scale and uncompensated care are also options, depending on the provider. The first best step is to call your insurance plan to find out what providers are in your plans network. 2-1-1 is read to help individuals get connected to providers within their network and provide a warm hand-off.
If you’re a behavioral health or substance use treatment provider in Pierce County, please complete the survey to support the health of Pierce County.