New Lucas County Program Focuses on Positive Health Outcomes for At Risk Women

In 2021, Vice-President Kamala Harris spoke on maternal health outcomes in the United States, asserting, “We know that when women do not get the healthcare that they need, families suffer, communities suffer, and our nation suffers.”

Talbot Health Services and Neighborhood Health Association’s Nexus Center recently began a new program in Lucas County designed to target female patients of both organizations with comprehensive health services.

“A Healthy Me, A Healthy Us” utilizes a three-prong approach that targets mind, body and spirit.

Talbot Health Services CEO Matt Rizzo said, “Studies show that when you have the ability to treat the mind, body and spirit of a patient, the overall outcomes are far more successful.”

Research has shown that unaddressed mental health issues during pregnancy and after childbirth is a leading cause of increased rates of maternal mortality. A Healthy Me, A Healthy Us will help connect those seeking assistance with addiction or mental health needs with Talbot Health Services to the pregnancy related, dental, vision and women’s health care services available with care from Neighborhood Health Association’s Nexus Center. This will improve health outcomes for populations seeking services from both agencies. 

Step one: triage and assessment

In the first step, a full behavioral assessment and medical triage of the female patient takes place with Talbot Health Services. Talbot Health Services offers a full continuum of care, including outpatient counseling, group counseling, addiction services, medication assisted treatment, residential inpatient mental health services, etc. During this part of the process, each patient will be assessed for her strengths, needs, abilities and her treatment preferences.

If any screenings or lab testing needs to be completed, it can be ordered at this time as well. The purpose of this portion of treatment is to gather information of the full range of services a patient may need. Perhaps the client needs help with mental health concerns, but the client also lacks a primary care physician or has not seen a dentist in several years. 

Step two: connection with a care navigator

In the second phase of treatment, women are connected with Talbot’s Clinical Treatment teams, as well as representatives from the Nexus Center. If the patient is pregnant and in need of inpatient care, the appropriate care is coordinated. Talbot’s inpatient residential treatment facility has fourteen beds, and residents stay an average of sixty to one hundred twenty days. A care navigator is also assigned to each patient. The role of the care navigator is to assist with matters such as transportation, coordination of care with an existing OBGYN, and ongoing support. 

Step three: comprehensive health care

In the final stage of treatment, patients are connected with additional comprehensive care services, such as dental and vision, prescription drug access, cardiology, oncology and other specialist care as needed. If a patient is pregnant and residing in Talbot’s inpatient care facility, she will also receive life skills training, case management services, and important post-natal care resources. This is the final step of the three-prong approach. 

Simply put, when maternal health is made a priority, family health also improves. When we invest in maternal health, socioeconomic outcomes improve. A Healthy Me, A Healthy Us aims to improve maternal health outcomes not only in Lucas County, but also across Ohio. 

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