FBH Expands Insurance Capacity Sep 18, 2018

The U.S. healthcare system has been challenged by an acute shortage of psychiatrists and other mental health professionals for decades, but at a time when more people are struggling with depression, thoughts of suicide and the effects of opioid addiction, the gap between supply and demand has never been more critical.

A 2017 report by the National Council for Behavioral Health predicts demand for psychiatry will outstrip supply by 25 percent or 15,600 psychiatrists by 2025. Blame the shortage on retirements and reimbursement rates that generally lag behind other medical providers. As you might predict, the shortage will be particularly urgent in rural areas and underfunded urban neighborhoods where resources are already stretched.

Frontier Behavioral Health is hoping to meet some of that local demand by increasing its capacity to serve more individuals with commercial insurance.

"We want to be responsive to the needs of our community," explained Chief Executive Officer Jeff Thomas. "We have adult and family clinicians who are credentialed for commercial insurance panels. They have the capacity in their schedules to work with new clients so we want to make that time available."

As a community mental health provider, FBH has historically prioritized individuals who are at high risk, high need or publicly funded, although the agency has always accepted most commercial insurance plans.

"We have a long history of service in Spokane," Thomas said. "We're a Trauma-Informed Care organization that understands the prevalence of trauma in people's lives and we adhere to evidence-based practices to treat a wide range of behavioral health issues. We've always been committed to having a positive impact on the lives of those we serve."

Individuals who want to make an appointment with a FBH clinician should call 509.838.4651. Customer Service Representatives will collect insurance information and schedule an initial mental health assessment. New clients are currently being seen at 400 S. Jefferson, just west of Deaconess Hospital. Additional counseling locations will be available later this year in north Spokane and in the Spokane Valley.

Counseling services with extended hours are available Monday through Friday for adults, youth and families.

By Carla T. Savalli

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