Behavioral Health Partners of MetroWest Helps Individuals Connect to Care with One Call

The MetroWest Referral Line, a program of Behavioral Health Partners of MetroWest (BHPMW), is nearing the completion of its second year of listening to people and families in need and matching them to the best service—at no charge. Anyone in the community can call the BHPMW Referral Line toll free number, 1-844-528-6800, Monday through Friday or submit a request for a call back on their website to receive assisting in connecting.

This program was created to address the longstanding nationwide problem of accessing behavioral healthcare. Since July 2017, Referral Line care coordinators have received more than 1,000 inquiries for service. Prior to launching, the Referral Line was projected to receive 200 requests in the first year.

“Individuals who call the Referral Line express relief that they are able to speak to one person who will listen to their needs and find the right services for them,” says Shannon Ahern, BHPMW program coordinator. “Coordinating care means working closely with a person’s primary care physician and service providers to match that person to the range of services that fit their individual needs—which could take weeks of numerous phone calls to accomplish on their own.”

The BHPMW Referral Line has helped individuals of a wide range of ages and backgrounds—from an eight-year-old boy on the autism spectrum and his mother who said she had “…called 32 other places before I found [BHPMW],” to a 52-year-old man in need of outpatient therapy and psychiatry who stated “I appreciate that you did the navigating and followed up during the process. It meant a lot to me to not feel so alone in all this.”

Among the data collected from 2017 – 2018, BHPMW learned that:

  • 75% were successfully connected to needed services (about 25% disengaged during the process or declined offered options)
  • 62% received an appointment for behavioral health services in four weeks or less; 26% within two weeks
  • Most requests came from a person in need of services (25%), a family member (25%), or a primary care physician (26%); schools accounted for 15% of requests
  • 92% reported a high satisfaction rate

BHPMW’s referral line goals are to improve access to behavioral health and social services, provide care coordination to ensure secure connections to those services, and improve healthcare coordination by effectively partnering with primary care providers (PCPs).

Nicole Perez, a medical social worker with one such PCP group, New England Quality Care Alliance, had this to say about her partnership with the Referral Line, “Working with the referral line has been a wonderful experience; it has been extremely beneficial to have one point of contact for my referrals, questions, and follow up. BHPMW care coordinators are always quick to respond and assist. I appreciate how diligent they are when it comes to assisting the patients and the practices.”

The BHPMW is able to offer services at no charge thanks to funding by grants from the Metrowest Health Foundation, CHNA-7, Mutual One Bank, Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of MA and the Parmenter Foundation of Wayland, MA. In November 2018, the Parmenter Foundation elected to support BHPMW with funding for a second consecutive year.

Behavioral Health Partners of MetroWest