Retail therapy: The best health care is local

With one in five Americans suffering from a mental illness at any point in their lives, the demand for behavioral health services is loud and clear, but the reality is that many people do not have access to quality care. Indeed, only 26 percent of the need for mental health services is met in this country, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

Today is an exciting day for Beacon Health Options (Beacon). We are opening the doors to our first mental health practice where people can receive therapy to work through the many challenges that life can present. The practice, named Beacon Care Services, will operate in a setting that promises to promote access to care – a Walmart.

Beacon Care Services is now located in Walmart in Carrollton, Texas, a state where Beacon has been managing behavioral health services for 26 years, currently serving 750,000 Medicaid enrollees (STAR), Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) recipients, and Marketplace Exchange members. Now, people living and shopping in the Dallas suburb of Carrollton can visit their local Walmart and get the mental health services they need in a way that fits into their busy lifestyles.

Forward to the future

The health care system at large has been going through a transformation of sorts, as large incumbents and dynamic new entrants try to figure out the best way to deliver on the aspirational Triple Aim: high-quality care, low cost and better patient experience. Solutions range from telehealth to mobile apps to value-based payments. Providing care in a familiar, local setting that people frequent, is yet another common-sense solution with the potential to revolutionize how we think about – and access – health care.

The health care system at large has been going through a transformation of sorts, as large incumbents and dynamic new entrants try to figure out the best way to deliver on the aspirational Triple Aim: high-quality care, low cost and better patient experience.

The solution to fill an unmet need in a local setting is straightforward. A licensed Beacon Care Services behavioral health clinician is available five days a week, eight hours a day, including evening hours, to provide therapy in a private office setting for many behavioral health issues, including depression, anxiety, grief, relationship challenges and more. In addition to providing high-quality, evidence-based care, the new practice is committed to improving access to services with the goal of offering sessions within 48 hours of the request. In contrast, sometimes it can take weeks to book a therapy appointment in more traditional settings.

A website, https://www.beaconcareservices.com/, provides additional convenience by offering information about the practice as well as the ability to book an appointment.

Directly providing services through Beacon Care Services is the natural extension of Beacon’s long-standing innovation for promoting access to care as evidenced by our role as the first behavioral health services company to be an official partner of Project ECHO. Leveraging a presence in an outpost of the largest retailer in the country – 50,000 people visit the Carrollton store weekly – Beacon is continuing our focus on promoting access by bringing services to where the people are. Indeed, the opportunity to access health care services in this new way strengthens the meaning of the adage, “the best health care is local health care”.

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