Patients Win with Team-Based Care

Jessica Gil

“For seven years, my son struggled every day and night in torment with this disease of the mind. I thank you because you gave hope to a family that was grieving the loss of a loved one who was still alive… Now my boy has a renewed mind. He’s taking his medications, he’s attending his appointments, he’s exercising, he’s reading and he’s able to have conversations without his mind wandering off to a scary place.”

These are the grateful words of Jessica Gil as she shared how the Maine Behavioral Healthcare (MBH) Team-Based Care (TBC) pilot program has been life changing for her son living with paranoid schizophrenia. Gil spoke about her family’s journey at MBH’s Signs of Hope philanthropy event to create awareness and underscore the importance of these services at MBH.

Following the success of the TBC pilot project, MBH opened the Spring Harbor Hospital Outpatient program in Portland during July 2022.  The team is comprised of social workers, psychiatric staff, case managers, and nurses supporting adults and children with complex mental health issues.

Beth Dube, APRN-BC, Director of Psychiatric Services Administration

According to Beth Dube, APRN-BC, Director of Psychiatric Services Administration, TBC is not a new concept in patient care.  The model is used in hospital and primary care settings, and on the MBH Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) teams.

“In the outpatient psychiatry setting it is transformative because with everyone working to the top of their license it helps us steward our limited psychiatric resources more efficiently. Through opportunities for care coordination and communication in our daily schedules, we can maximize care team skills and specialties to meet the complex needs of the patient,” Dube explains.

“The care team was fully engaged and consulted as we implemented TBC in our Portland clinic. While leadership played a significant role in the development of the program, implementation decisions were made by those closest to the work. This collaboration is a testament to the dedication and commitment of our entire care team, and truly benefits our patients,” concludes Dube.

MBH plans to expand the Team-Based model of care across all MBH clinics.

The TBC team gathers for a team retreat, L-R: Mary Kate Grady, MD; Bill Lagasse, LCSW; Debra Atwood, LCPC; Whitnie Plummer, BHA, MBA, Practice Manager; Mary Southard, ATS; Beth Dube, APRN, RMD, Director Psychiatric Services; Tyler Connolly, LCPC; Sarah Wilcox, ATS; Thad Shattuck, MD; Rachael Desrosiers, LCSW; Miranda Nichols, LCPC; Robert Toscano, DO; Linda Johnson, LCSW; Erin Whitcomb, MA; Helen Watson, PMHNP; Sumayya Ayaz, MD; Meagan Thomsen, MA; Blanca Gurrola, LCSW, VP of Outpatient Services.

What makes Team-Based Care special?

The foundation of Team-Based Care (TBC) is the knowledge that every care team member’s role is essential in delivering care, from scheduling the initial appointment to discharge. It is a collaborative model that draws on multiple disciplines to provide holistic, patient-centered care. TBC serves individuals who may need a more intensive approach to their treatment than traditional outpatient psychiatry or therapy provide. Individuals transitioning from an inpatient stay, Partial Hospitalization Program, Intensive Outpatient Program, emergency room, and primary care receive personalized treatment for further stabilization provided by a team of specialists all working together to assist the patient in achieving their treatment goals. TBC offers in-person appointments at the Spring Harbor Hospital outpatient clinic in Portland.