CHCANYS and the Institute for Family Health Partner…

CHCANYS and the Institute for Family Health Partner to Reduce Untreated Depression Among Older Adults in New York City

 

The Fan Fox & Leslie R. Samuels Foundation Supports Vital Depression Collaborative in Four Community Health Centers

 

The Community Health Care Association of New York State (CHCANYS) is pleased to announce that it is the recipient of a Healthy Aging Grant from The Fan Fox & Leslie R. Samuels Foundation. With this support, CHCANYS has joined forces with the Institute for Family Health to dramatically reduce the prevalence of undiagnosed, untreated clinical depression among older adults receiving care at New York City-based federally qualified health centers (FQHCs). 

On June 7, 2011, CHCANYS and the Institute launched an 18-month learning collaborative through which they will provide technical assistance to four FQHCs in the implementation of IMPACT (Improving Mood Promoting Access to Collaborative Treatment), a nationally-renowned, evidence-based model for the screening and treatment of clinical depression developed by a national group of experts led by Dr. Jurgen Unutzer at the University of Washington. The participating health centers—Bedford Stuyvesant Family Health Center, Bronx Community Health Network, Morris Heights Health Center, and Sunset Park Family Health Center—have also been awarded Healthy Aging Grants, bringing the Samuels Foundation’s total investment in the project to approximately $800,000. 

Research has shown that clinical depression can be effectively managed in primary care settings using evidence-based guidelines. Despite being highly treatable, however, depression is currently undertreated among older adults living within the community. Suicide rates among adults over 65 exceed those of the general population—yet, approximately 75% of elderly patients who die by suicide visited a physician within a month before their deaths. 

FQHCs are well-positioned to play a critical role in reducing the prevalence of undiagnosed, untreated depression among older adults, particularly those who come from medically underserved populations. In 2009, a total of 335,371 visits to FQHCs across New York State were for mental health reasons. Adults over the age of 60 constitute more than 9% of the patient population of New York City’s FQHCs, with the majority of these patients being people of color with low-income status who are either publicly insured or uninsured. 

CHCANYS and the Institute will support a sustainable implementation of the IMPACT model in the four participating health centers while capturing best practices for future replication in other locations. Participants are striving to meet ambitious targets, including the consistent achievement of a screening rate of 100%. The overarching goals of the project are to increase diagnosis and treatment of clinical depression among participating health center patients over the age of 60, improve health center practices and systems to be consistent with recommended best practices for the treatment of clinical depression, increase the skills and knowledge of health center staff in regard to screening for and treatment of depression, and reduce the cultural stigma associated with depression.

 

About CHCANYS: The Community Health Care Association of New York State organizes, educates and advocates on behalf of more than 60 health centers throughout New York State. Community, migrant and homeless health centers provide high quality, affordable and accessible primary and preventive care for more than 1.4 million New Yorkers at over 470 sites. For more information, visit www.chcanys.org

About the Institute for Family Health: The Institute for Family Health is a federally qualified health center network with 26 practice sites in New York State. In 2009 all Institute centers received the highest recognition from the National Committee for Quality Assurance as Patient Centered Medical Homes. In addition to primary care, most Institute centers offer behavioral health services to all patients, regardless of their ability to pay. For more information, visit www.institute2000.org.

About The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation: The Foundation was established by Fan Fox Samuels and her husband, Leslie R. Samuels. In the nearly 20 years since Mr. and Mrs. Samuels’ deaths, the Foundation has consistently supported the performing arts, which remain a major focus of its grant making, and has devoted substantial resources to health and social service programs that will improve the lives of New Yorkers. The mission of the Foundation’s Healthy Aging program is to improve the health care and overall quality of life for the elderly of New York City. For more information, visit www.samuels.org.   

About IMPACT: IMPACT is an evidence-based model of care that helps primary care physicians and mental health providers collaborate effectively to treat depression. It was developed by a group of national experts with support from the John A. Hartford Foundation and the California HealthCare Foundation. For more information, visit: http://impact-uw.org/.