Lancaster Physician Winter 2021 - 21

WINTER 2021

A

t the Lancaster Osteopathic
Health Foundation, LOHF, our
mission is to elevate the mental
well-being of youth and children
in Lancaster County. We were established
in 1999 with the proceeds of the sale of
Community Hospital of Lancaster, which
was founded in 1942 as Lancaster Osteopathic Hospital. We actively manage an
endowment to benefit the Lancaster County
community in perpetuity. The generosity
of our donors allows us to help even more
local youth and children experience mental
well-being.
For over 20 years, LOHF has invested
in training our Lancaster County health
care workforce and increasing the physical
and mental health of children. We award
scholarships to nursing students and organize
children's mental health Continuing Medical
Education (CME) programs for physicians.
And we carefully award grants to community
benefit organizations whose work improves
the health and well-being of youth and children in Lancaster County. We are strategically
focused on the mental well-being of kids and
teens, because osteopathic physicians have
always treated the whole person. In recent
times, we've seen the need for mental health
care grow considerably.
We honor and continue the legacy of
osteopathic medicine in our work by
valuing the whole person, by advancing
and supporting efforts that remove barriers to accessing care and by helping to
streamline services for families. We believe
in whole person health care, because the
mind and the body cannot be separated.
And we advocate for health care integration-patients need systems streamlined
with integrated physical and behavioral
health. Our efforts focus on putting funds
where they are needed most, investing in
health equity, so that students, families,
and patients who have the greatest needs
can receive the most care and support. This
often means that we award scholarships to
students who are the first in their family
to attend college. Our grant funding also
helps boys and young men in foster care
have an advocate and mentor with whom
they can more easily identify and connect.

There is a mental health care supply and
demand crisis in Lancaster County, especially for youth and children. The Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention have
identified that the urgency of more licensed
behavioral health professionals is a crucial
demand with the statistics showing that
one in six children (17.8 percent) ages 2-8
years have a mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder. A shortage of mental
health providers leaves parents frustrated
and physicians eager for training and referral
options to help patients. Systems of care
are fragmented, especially between physical
and behavioral health, leaving many families
and providers frustrated and overwhelmed
without the necessary access to mental
health support. When families struggle to
find mental health care, children suffer with
depression and anxiety until they're in crisis
at our emergency departments. From April
to October 2020, the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention cite that emergency department visits for children with
mental health needs increased 24 percent
for children ages 5-11 and 31 percent for
ages 12-17, compared to the same time
period in 2019.
LOHF strategically tackles this mental
health care supply and demand crisis by
supporting and creating local programs
that answer these two big questions:
How can we build the
talent pipeline in
behavioral health care
for youth and children
in Lancaster County?

Building the talent pipeline increases
the supply of qualified, trained behavioral
health providers in Lancaster County. It
also means continuing medical education
for physicians, residents, and medical students on children's mental health topics so
that our current and future workforce are
supported and well-versed in local resources
to support families and patients.
This year, LOHF launched a clinical
supervision collaborative, bringing eight
large and small behavioral health practices
together in monthly cohorts and offering

LANCASTER

21

PHYSICIAN

continuing education credits. Grant funding offsets the cost of clinical supervision,
like a preceptorship, so that recent masters
level graduates can have access to qualified
clinical supervision without the added
expense. After three years, we will have
supported 30 newly licensed therapists
and counselors who are ready to practice
seeing children, youth, and families here
in Lancaster County.
CME programs bring topics of children's
mental health to UPMC Lititz through a
partnership with the Philadelphia College
of Osteopathic Medicine. We also plan a
Medical Education Coalition series, twice
each year, with the Intermediate Unit 13,
for school administrators and primary care
providers to learn about topics of mutual
interest, often how to integrate mental and
behavioral health care between schools
and health care. During the COVID-19
pandemic, some CME programs were
temporarily paused and will continue in an
online format. Recent topics have focused
on understanding how to refer patients to
local mental health providers, creating safety
plans to prevent suicide and preventing
physician burnout.
Nursing scholarships support the growing
need for nurses trained in children's mental
health, from Licensed Practical Nursing,
Registered Nursing to bachelor's and
master's degrees in nursing and specialties
such as Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner and
Family Nurse Practitioner. LOHF has
continued supporting nurses in Lancaster
County since 2003, with over $1 million
in scholarship funds awarded.
How can we improve access
to mental well-being for
youth and children in
Lancaster County?

Improving access to mental well-being
increases the demand for mental health care.
Despite efforts to normalize mental health
care, stigma still exists in our community.
Continued on page 22



Lancaster Physician Winter 2021

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