Collaboration for Change: Lisa Riffanacht, PALCO

Lisa Riffanacht, PALCO

Lisa Riffanacht, PALCO

As the Director of Project Access Lancaster County, Lisa Riffanacht works closely with primary care physicians. Throughout her career, she has learned the challenges which families, primary health care providers, and behavioral health specialists face. A specific source of concern for primary care providers is the high rate of psychotropic prescriptions to adolescent patients, without the consult of a behavioral health specialist. Recognizing the need for a mode of communication and collaboration between primary care and behavioral health care physicians, Lisa discovered NavWell, and joined the Advisory Council in an effort to create positive change.

NavWell is a completely customized system designed to address the gaps in integrated healthcare. NavWell has built valid and reliable assessment tools, backed by science for physical health providers who have requested them to assist physicians and behavioral health specialists in understanding and treating behavioral health problems. Specifically designed to facilitate and guide a common assessment and treatment, NavWell encourages uniformity and reliability in both psychometric and communimetric theory and practice for physical health and behavioral health providers.

“We need to look at a patient as a whole being, and mental health is part of physical health,” Lisa explains. “Facilitating the information flow between primary care physicians and behavioral health specialists will assist all professionals working with a patient to have a better idea of what is going on with that patient and better provide services.”

With NavWell, primary care providers and specialists can start referring those children facing mental health issues to counseling rather than immediately turning towards prescriptions as the solution. If a prescription is called for, they have access to a psychiatrist who is affiliated with the behavioral health providers for consultation. Communication and collaboration between health care providers, patients, and families will provide better mental health care for children.

The benefits of NavWell are not limited to patients and physicians, but stretch out to the community to facilitate conversation and understanding. NavWell encourages conversations about the issues surrounding mental health, and breaks down the stigmas.

NavWell promotes change for the well-being and health care of children across Lancaster County and beyond.

For more information and how to get involved, please visit lohf.org/navwell.

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