Behavioral health system means better continuation of care

20 Jun 2014 | Cpl. Jackeline Perez Rivera

In the past, when a military family left Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, the work they had done through programs with the Community Counseling Center would fall into hiatus, and once settled in a new base, they would have to start over.

Two years ago, Camp Lejeune became a pilot location for a program designed to help providers of Marine Corps Community Service’s Behavioral Health programs simplify the process through the Behavioral Health Integrated Case Management System.

“It’s a way for the behavioral health programs in the Marine Corps to coordinate services so no service members or their families fall through the cracks,” said Jennifer Prince, the behavioral health program manager with MCCS.

BHICMS is a web-based, stand-alone case management system that tracks nonmedical services and helps providers coordinate care, said Prince.

Aboard Camp Lejeune, this includes the Family Advocacy Program, the New Parent Support Program and services rendered through the Community Counseling Center, such as personal or marital counseling.

“(Because of BHICM) when a service member moves, they won’t have to start all over,” said Prince. “They won’t have to tell their whole story or fill out new documents.”

BHICMS was based on two other programs used throughout the Marine Corps to monitor care. The Marine Corps Wounded, Ill and Injured Tracking System and Recovery Coordination Program Support Solutions were adapted to form BHICMS.

“There has been a lot of testing and sharing feedback with developers,” said Amanda Bragg, a case manager with the behavioral health program. “It’s a work in progress, and it will continue to grow.”

While the program is still in its early phases, it is spreading throughout the Marine Corps with 10 installations using it throughout the last two years and five more joining it this year.

“There are changes that are happening to BHICMS to make the system more and more user friendly.” said Lisa Eaffaldano, a clinical supervisor with the behavioral health program. “It’s really coming along.”

The program is being shaped every day by behavioral health professionals to meet the needs of their clients, said Prince.

“There’s a lot of effort going into building this and creating it, and the fruits of our labor will be seen down the road,” said Prince.

As the program grows and eases some of the administrative burden of behavioral health, Prince anticipates the system will help build trust and confidence in behavioral health from the military population.

“There’s still a big stigma with it, and I’m hoping that over time as people will see how we’re really making efforts to improve the system and the process,” said Prince.

For now, Camp Lejeune behavioral health professionals continue to build the system, and as it spreads throughout the Marine Corps, clients can continue to receive care with as little interruptions as possible, despite the moves and changes associated with life in the military.

For more information about the Community Counseling Center, call 451-2864.

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