Partners for Wellness

Posted on June 8, 2012
Dr. Owens facilitates a panel on the dynamics of integrated health care.Dr. Owens facilitates a panel on the dynamics of integrated health care.On June 5 and 6 Fountain House was the host for a Symposium on the subject of integrated health care: the system of coordinated medical, psychiatric and rehabilitation services as exemplified by Fountain House’s relationship with the Sidney Baer Center. Attending the Symposium were representatives of six other clubhouses, including Magnolia Clubhouse (Ohio), Genesis and Point After Clubs (Massachusetts), Independence Center (Missouri), Contra Costa Clubhouse (California), and Shore Clubhouse (New Jersey). 

Panel discussions were organized to address both local and national issues. The first panel presented the development of our integrated care model as initially conceptualized in cooperation with Dr. Ralph Aquila and St. Lukes’s/Roosevelt Hospital. A second panel included members and staff from Fountain House and the Sidney Baer Center, who described the everyday working out of the network of relationships between all the people who might be involved in each individual member’s wellness program. The third panel of the day was a presentation by Magnolia Clubhouse of their successful effort to duplicate our integrated healthcare model by providing a small psychiatric and medical clinic located close to their clubhouse in Cleveland.

On the second day of the symposium, we heard from outside experts on changes in the insurance industry and on state and federal initiatives to redesign health delivery and Medicaid systems. A final panel addressed the need for well-designed research studies that would evaluate the efficacy of our model of care for the enhancement of our members’ wellness.

The fundamental issue posed for all of us was whether it is feasible to replicate this model at other clubhouses across the country; for the participants in this symposium, the answer was clearly in the affirmative. The open discussion between participants also dealt directly with some difficult issues, e.g. conflicts that can arise for clubhouse staff in working in collaboration with members and their doctors; and the long-term worries that we all share about public funding for healthcare in the immediate future. On the whole, however, participants were optimistic about the opportunities we see for enhancing our partnerships for wellness.

In planning for the future, we have agreed to maintain regular contacts with the groups participating in this Symposium to keep each other updated on the progress of our programs. We will also pursue discussions of possible joint research projects involving more than one clubhouse, and consider the possibility of presentations of these ideas at upcoming regional or international conferences.

Howard Owens, MD
Chair of the Council for Training, Education, and Advocacy
Fountain House

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