Betances Health Center Betances Health Center

Partner Spotlight Detail

Betances Health Center

Betances Health Center located in Manhattan’s lower east side has always placed immense value on their patients’ needs. Twenty years ago when Betances served a patient population predominately hailing from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, it altered its nutritional program to prescribe herbs and spices this demographic would recognize. This small adjustment had positive results, as its patients continued to utilize Betances not only for its nutritional assistance, but also medical services because they felt their cultural values were respected. 

Betances recognized that in order to continue to provide quality care to patients, they would need the help of other patient-centered organizations. In 2015 Betances joined the Mount Sinai PPS and saw it as an opportunity to collaborate with other New York City health care providers, to share best practices and to learn from others. “I feel there are not enough organizations that can make a difference unless we join together to address the underinsured and the best way to do that is being part of a large partnership where you have all the players to provide that coordinated care,” said Julia Tsien, Chief Executive Officer at Betances.

Refining Clinical Operations through MSPPS Efforts

In 2017, as one of the Mount Sinai PPS clinical strategies, partners were asked to establish or improve treatment plans and referral/follow-up processes for patients with acute depression episodes. This particular strategy offered Betances the opportunity to make behavioral health services more available to patients who need them. 

Since this work with Mount Sinai PPS, depression screenings have been made available to patients at every visit and not only during the annual check-up. Betances also trained and re-educated its staff members on the importance of this exam; making behavioral health an important element of every patient visit. As a result, 17% more patients have received a depression screening in the past year.  

Patients who score a 15 or above on the PHQ-9 are immediately brought to a behavioral health specialist for an assessment. They receive a follow-up visit two weeks later with their primary care provider to make sure everything is on track, followed by an appointment with the behavioral health specialist two weeks after the follow-up. This cycle continues for twelve weeks or until the patient is stabilized. If the patient is unable to be stabilized, Betances will refer this patient to an outside organization. This ensures that all efforts are made to help the patient get better. 

In addition to working with MSPPS to refine its clinical operations, Betances has also made several connections within the network to gain insights on making other improvements. For example, Betances revisited its smoking cessation patient education materials and modified the language so that it would resonate with both the patients and their loved ones. Betances revised its outreach postcards to now read, “Do you or anyone you know smoke and are looking to quit?” Betances Medical Director Dr. Maria Cellario took a look at materials created by other partners and was able to leverage some ideas and language to improve Betances’ existing educational materials. 

Dr. Cellario said of this collaboration, “We probably would not have taken that next step in developing these postcards if we didn’t initially receive the helpful communication from partners within the PPS network.” 

Lower East Side Collaborations

Julia Tsien is grateful for the impact DSRIP continues to have on Betances. She said, “DSRIP has really allowed us to engage our partners in a real-time basis. We started doing a lot of work with Henry Street Settlement and the Lower Eastside Service Center (LESC) due to our involvement with the PPS. DSRIP has really engaged us in a way that we have not engaged previously.” 

The New York State Department of Health awarded LESC with a three million dollar grant to pilot a value-based payment methodology for behavioral health providers. The BHCC’s collective mission and vision supports a whole-person focus on integrated behavioral health and physical health and on the patient care experience; a comprehensive focus on wellness and recovery and addressing chronic conditions; increased use of quality, evidence-based practices and continuous performance improvement; a team-based approach to care coordination; and data sharing through information technology linkages for performance monitoring and reporting.

The LESC BHCC has developed a robust provider network geographically distributed across NYC that is capable of delivering a full range of behavioral health services and programs. The network is replete with respect to OMH Article 31 licensed outpatient clinics and services and OASAS certified Article 32 clinics including residential programs as well as home and community based services offering education and vocational training, supported housing, peer services and crisis intervention services.   Affiliate partners include the Betances Health Center FQHC, Henry Street Settlement and the Mount Sinai Hospital System as well as the Mount Sinai Performing Provider System and Health Home. 

There might be just one more year left with DSRIP, but the workflow modifications, educational materials developed, and relationships formed have made an impact on Betances that will last forever.  

Betances Health Center offers many services to its patients including primary care, behavioral health and social services, HIV/AIDS care, and oral/health and dental services. Most recently, Betances opened up a new location in Bushwick, Brookyln.

For more information on Betances and the services it provides, please click here: 

Go to Partner Spotlight Series