Harbor Receives PRIME Certification for Behavioral Health Integration

2017 PCMH PRIME CertifiedHarbor Health Services, Inc. is proud to announce that all of its health centers that provide primary care have received PCMH PRIME Certification. Neponset Health Center, Geiger Gibson Community Health Center, Harbor Community Health Center Hyannis, and Harbor Community Plymouth have all met the criteria for integrating behavioral health services into a primary care setting. The PCMH Prime Certification Program was developed by the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission (HPC) and the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).

The program requires that practices meet majority of the following criteria and order to receive the certification:

  • Behavioral Health Integration: Integration of behavioral health through formal agreements, co-location or provider integration.
  • Comprehensive Health Assessment: Comprehensive health assessments that include screenings for behavioral health conditions, such as depression, post-partum depression, anxiety, developmental delays and substance use disorder.
  • Identifying High-Risk Patients: IA system for identifying high-risk patients for targeted care management.
  • Referral Tracking and Follow-Up: Tracking and following up on referrals to specialists, including behavioral healthcare providers.
  • Evidence-Based Decision Support:Using evidence-based guidelines to make decisions about support for mental health and substance use disorders.
  • Addiction Treatment:Medication-assisted treatment for addiction.

Behavioral Health Consultants at Harbor Health Services, Inc. work with patients and their care teams to discuss and create care plans for a variety of physical and emotional health problems including but not limited to:

  • Anxiety
  • Chronic Illness/ Pain
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Grief and Loss
  • Stress
  • Substance Abuse
  • Tobbacco Use
  • Weight Loss

For more information about Harbor Health’s Integrated Behavioral Health Services, please contact your local health center.







Op-Ed: A Rising Tide Lifts Mixed Messages

The role of cultural attitudes as a hindrance to soberly addressing mental health issues, much less resolving them, has been often mentioned in this space.  On  the deepest personal level,  too many suffer needlessly due to the stigma of having to struggle with things like everyday depression and anxiety, not to mention those other problems that can become debilitating, at their worst.

People often find little support from those around them, and when they find the courage to finally seek help – or when desperation or other factors force them to take action – help can be difficult to find, or once found , the wait for that first appointment can be a long time.  On a broader level, access to affordable mental health care has not been much of a government priority, reflecting the culture as a whole.  Any positive change in this picture would be welcome, one would think, but one can only welcome a recent current for positive change with mixed emotions, as it has only surfaced in the context of gun violence.  America is well aware – and accepts, as a culture – all the horrific consequences of easy gun access.

We are a standout among all the countries of the world on that one, along with incarceration rates.  Sandy Hook, three years ago, changed the conversation a bit, due to the extraordinary level of tragedy, and what we got was a consequent call for better policing, education, training, gun laws – and mental health services.   Shooters are mentally ill in some way, obviously – or so the reasoning goes – so detecting this, and treating it before it’s too late makes sense, right?  A couple of bills were introduced at the time on Capitol Hill, proposing removal of insurance barriers, funding more psychiatric research, and establishing an Assistant Secretary for Mental Health, among other things.  A chance for real movement on this issue!  Except for the fact that the gun interests that seem to determine outcomes (this is America, after all) have dictated that none of the agenda ever got realized through legislation.   Following the consequent gun tragedies in South Carolina, Louisiana, Virginia, Oregon, Arizona, and Texas – yes, those all have happened since Sandy Hook – the two Republican-introduced bills (think about that) are finally getting a hearing.  Does this mean mental health is finally having its day in Congress?   The talk is about schizophrenia and bipolar illness, while the mental health reality is that these represent a tiny part of what constitutes mental health in this country.  Does a rising tide lift all boats?  Or is mental health only getting further stigmatized by this government-sponsored association with extraordinary behaviors?  Is this focus on mental health a ploy by the politicians, where taking action on mental health substitutes for putting restrictions on firearms, which they continue to resist?  We are living in complicated times, indeed.


John Dabrowski  LICSW

Neponset Health Center and Geiger Gibson Community Health Center