CO Behavioral Health Program for Seniors, Caregivers Move to PacificSource


BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – Alzheimer’s disease, other forms of dementia, and mental health disorders in older adults often have serious negative impacts on quality of life.

The Elderly Behavioral Health Initiative was launched in 2015 by the Oregon Health Authority. Their goal is to build community awareness of the behavioral health needs of older people, help the workforce become more informed, and improve the local capacity of systems to treat older people and adults with disabilities. physical, with dignity and confidence.

Of the 26 senior behavioral health specialists statewide, two are located in central Oregon. Until now, the local team has been based in nonprofit and county offices. But effective July 1, 2021, both positions will operate within PacificSource.

“We’re excited to see the program evolve into a place with more visibility,” said Central Oregon Health Council executive director Donna Mills, who has been contracted for the program since 2017. “Our nonprofit is small. and it is an opportunity for the program to grow and prosper.

In addition to their standard scope, the Central Oregon team coordinates with community partners around people with high needs. Specialists work with police departments, hospitals, long-term care facilities, the elderly and disabled, and others so they can identify adults with complex behavioral health disorders.

The program was also able to set up consultations with a geriatric psychiatrist for these patients. It is a helpful voice for primary care providers and St. Charles hospitals when medications and challenging behaviors are a concern.

“We’re bringing everyone from their primary care physicians to meals on wheels to figure out what it will take for that person to be treated,” says Angela Jensen, Elderly Behavioral Health Specialist, LCSW. She clarified that the program does not provide direct service or work with families of the elderly. Its definition of its role is to act as a “link between groups so that community partners connect to each other”. Through this coordination, Central Oregon is able to provide an essential service to the elderly and adults with physical disabilities.

This transition to PacificSource was suggested by the Oregon Health Authority. They proposed the transition because they saw an improvement in placing specialists within local coordinated care organizations.

“PacificSource aims to leverage its vision as a population health enterprise to elevate systemic understanding and responsiveness to the specific needs of the elderly population, while mitigating systemic risks to human well-being throughout. of life, ”said Ryan Daven, head of population health at Medicaid Behavioral Health. at PacificSource.

The Central Oregon Older Adult program is for all adults over the age of 60, regardless of the insurance they use or their insurance status.

About the Elderly Behavioral Health Initiative: The Central Oregon Older Adult Behavioral Health Initiative (OABHI) identifies gaps in services, strengthens existing services, expands workforce skills, advocates for behavioral health service development, and supports to improve lives adults over 60 (and adults with physical disabilities) who have behavioral health problems.

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