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Increasing access to mental health care

May 21, 2021 | Mental Health

During the pandemic, concerns about mental health have grown dramatically. That increase in demand for services has highlighted an issue that predates COVID-19 — a shortage in the number of mental health professionals.

In this episode of The Friday Pulse, we discuss how CVS Health is using MinuteClinics inside select HealthHUBs to help improve access to mental health care. A new program is putting licensed clinical social workers inside stores who can assess, diagnose, and provide therapy both in person and through video visits. Counseling is available to individuals, couples or families. If a higher level of care is required, the social workers can collaborate with a nurse practitioner to prescribe medication or refer patients to psychiatric treatment.

“We realized that we could really make a difference in people’s neighborhoods and make it convenient,” said Ashley Karpinski, Director, Behavioral Health Strategy and innovation, CVS Health. “We want to be part of the community’s well-being and you’ll see us continuing to strive to do that.”

The program currently includes locations in Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Texas, with plans to expand to additional markets later this year.

“The expansion of MinuteClinic to include affordable, convenient, ready access to mental health services is, in my mind, an elevation and expansion of our commitment to delivering quality, needed health care in the communities that we serve,” said Angela Patterson, Chief Nurse Practitioner Officer, MinuteClinic.