NORTHAMPTON — Adults who would like a referral to behavioral-health services now have easier access thanks to the addition of a psychiatrist and a licensed social worker at Atwood Health Center, the Cooley Dickinson multi-specialty provider practice at 22 Atwood Dr. in Northampton.
Psychiatrist Dr. Peter Halperin is the developer and medical director of the new Integrated Behavioral Health program based at Atwood.
“The first component of the new program is integrating extended psychiatric consultation with medication management into the Cooley Dickinson Medical Group primary-care system,” said Halperin, who has been a leader in the field of integrating psychiatry into medical settings for more than 30 years.
In this new model, Halperin accepts referrals from Cooley Dickinson Medical Group (CDMG) providers. To receive care, each patient must have a referral from their primary-care provider. Referred patients get faster access to appointments, and the referring providers receive timely follow-up communications about each patient.
Halperin evaluates patients and develops a plan of care for each person. He sees individuals for up to two to three months, then patients are referred back to their primary-care provider for ongoing monitoring.
In addition to medication consultations, psychotherapists will be integrated into the CDMG primary-care practices. Short-term therapy will be provided to help manage stressors that affect both the emotional well-being of patients as well as their physical health. Marlene Meinelt, LICSW, has also joined the practice and is available to see patients. Psychotherapists will be added to other CDMG practices in the near future.