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Mentally ill offered a healing hand

Posted on Jun. 29, 2011 ( comments)

By Nicole Brodeur
The Seattle Times

One solution to the state's struggle to care for its physically sick and mentally ill sits on six wheels in a Puyallup parking lot.

The mobile medical clinic, parked in front of MultiCare Good Samaritan Behavioral Health one recent morning, brings primary medical care to the mentally ill, who may not get it otherwise. The reasons for that are — like the unit — all over the place. Some just can't get to the doctor's office. Others can, but won't walk through the door. And some simply can't afford it.

As a result, they have diabetes, undiagnosed cancer and other diseases that eventually send them to the emergency room — and deep into taxpayers' pockets.

Here, this 38-foot mobile unit literally parks in front of the building where they already receive mental-health counseling. Patients are put at ease and get streamlined attention from a nurse practitioner with a background in mental health. The mobile unit, a joint effort between MultiCare Health System and OptumHealth Pierce Regional Support Network (RSN), already has saved enough taxpayer money to make me wonder why these things aren't traveling statewide.

To read the full story, visit The Seattle Times. 

Or learn more about the services offered by MultiCare Good Samaritan's Behavioral Health program.

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