The Greenville Free Medical Clinic in Greenville, South Carolina was previously awarded a grant by the CCME Foundation in 2021 for its Chronic Care Navigator and a patient goal-setting and self-management screening tool for chronic disease. In 2023, the clinic was awarded a $50,000 to expand its behavioral health services to those within Greenville County who are low income and do not have insurance. As a part of its comprehensive health care program, the grant afforded the clinic the opportunity to increase its capacity to serve its patients by having its two part-time therapists brought to full time to provide counseling and therapy patients.    

Due to the expansion of these services, by mid-year, the behavioral health team had drastically increased its ability to meet the demand for this need for clinic patients. Patient sessions had increased by 41% over a six-month period. There was a decrease in its wait list for counseling referrals from an average of a one-month wait to less than a week wait. Nearly 100 low-income and uninsured patients had access to mental health therapy within the first six months of the grant period, and by the end of April 2024, provider encounters (which includes telehealth), had increased to 656 visits for all counseling.  

As a ripple effect of the CCME Foundation grant, because of the increased capacity of the mental health therapists at the clinic, other additions were made to the behavioral health team to assist patients in securing other social services needs, such as housing, bills, and childcare. Due to other funding, the clinic was able to add a social work intern and community health workers – including a Spanish-speaking member of the team – to provide these much-needed services for patients. In the past, the counselors themselves had to assist patients with navigating these challenges; now, they can instead focus on the mental health therapy piece. 

Brittany Roper, one of the two therapists at the clinic, provides individual mental health counseling but has also been able to expand her offerings to an evidence-based therapeutic skills group as well as the Power of Positive Parenting group. Suzie Foley, the Executive Director of the clinic, explained that part of the success of the behavior health program has been due to its integration into the primary care setting at Greenville Free Medical Clinic. The patients have a relationship with the staff and clinic, which builds the trust required. “When the relationship is in place, that’s where you see success. It is the multidisciplinary team.”     

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