Glickman Family's Gift to Spring Harbor Hospital
Extends Child Psychiatry Access Program
April 2012 - A generous gift from philanthropists Judy and Al Glickman of Cape Elizabeth has enabled The Glickman Family Center for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Spring Harbor Hospital to continue delivering a rapid-response psychiatric consultation service to pediatricians in southern Maine.
Established in 2009 with a three-year grant from the Maine Health Access Foundation, the Child Psychiatry Access Program (CPAP) was designed to address the unmet mental health needs of Maine youth in the primary care setting. The service enables pediatricians to receive a range of complimentary support, including telephone consultation from a child psychiatrist within as few as 45 minutes.
“The Glickman family’s gift is significant because physician-to-physician consults are not reimbursed by health insurance plans,” said Girard Robinson, MD, Chief Medical Officer of The Glickman Family Center for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Spring Harbor Hospital. “The continuation of this service is vital because it can literally mean the difference between a child receiving timely and effective treatment in their primary care office or ending up in the emergency room in psychiatric crisis.”
The need for rapid availability of child psychiatric consultations is well understood within the primary care community. In Maine and across the country, access to youth mental health services is significantly hindered by an unbalanced distribution of child psychiatrists and inadequate training of primary care clinicians in the specialty of psychiatry.
“Traditional pediatric training doesn’t include comprehensive clinical experiences in the assessment and treatment of mental health concerns in the primary care office,” said Sandra L. Fritsch, MD, CPAP Physician Leader and Training Director at The Glickman Family Center for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Spring Harbor Hospital. “The fundamental goal of CPAP has been to better prepare pediatricians for the behavioral and mental health problems they experience daily in their practices.”
According to estimates by the US Surgeon General’s office, eight to thirteen percent of Maine’s youth suffer from an emotional or mental health disorder, yet nearly three-quarters of these young people do not receive treatment. Better identification and treatment of mental health problems in the primary care setting is one solution.
CPAP was modeled on the highly successful Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Project, which is now funded there through a state mandate. CPAP looks forward to achieving a similar sustainability plan.
“We are grateful for the Glickman Family’s gift because of the real difference it is making in the lives of Maine youth,” Dr. Fritsch noted. “At the same time, we know that a long-term sustainability solution must be found if we are to spread the benefits of CPAP to more young people. Finding the resources through state policy changes, commercial insurance coverage, or Medicaid waiver programs is essential.”
Dr. Fritsch also looks forward to sharing with colleagues what has been learned from the CPAP model over the past several years. Her next
presentation about CPAP will be to the 20th World Congress of the International Association for Child & Adolescent Psychiatry & Allied Professionals in Paris, France in July 2012.
Brunswick Pediatrics was among the first practices to enroll in CPAP, and physician Stephanie Joy, MD, is among the program’s beneficiaries. “Almost every day, I encounter a child who is experiencing a behavioral health problem such as anxiety, depression, or ADHD,” she noted. “The greatest part of this program is being able to call with a question or concern and get an immediate response.”
To date, CPAP has enrolled pediatricians in seven medical practices in Brunswick, Westbrook, Yarmouth, Boothbay Harbor, and Norway. As participants in CPAP, a practice’s physicians can receive telephone or electronic consults from a child psychiatrist; face-to-face consultation for difficult diagnoses or treatment issues; help in identifying available community resources; ongoing education about mental health issues among children and adolescents; and mental health screening tools and patient educational materials.
Dr. Joy credits CPAP with helping her meet the needs of a seven-year-old patient who arrived in her office with an acute behavioral health problem. “With Dr. Fritsch’s help, we were able to establish a solid plan for the family before they left the office.”