Tracy McClung | Munson Army Health Center
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to limit normal social interactions, behavioral health services are even more in demand. Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations such as an infectious disease outbreak that requires social distancing, quarantine or isolation. Munson Army Health Center is now able to expand access for therapy to soldiers, family members and retirees ages 5-65.
“We want to make sure that our beneficiaries know that we are here to help during this difficult time. Reaching out to our behavioral health team is one of the best ways to reduce anxiety, depression and loneliness during the pandemic,” said Col. Garrick Cramer, MAHC commander.
MAHC has had to adjust its methods for providing care.
“COVID-19 has forced us into a virtual provision of care,” said Dr. Robert Bischoff, Behavioral Health Clinic chief. “At one point we were doing almost 100 percent virtual care. The pandemic has made us look at how care is provided, and so moving forward we discovered we have a new tool that we can use on an ongoing basis along with some of the other ways we traditionally provide care.”
MAHC has integrated more staff into the behavioral health team, which allows them to serve additional beneficiary populations.
“We are now to a point where new staff is up and running, and with some of the changes we have made in terms of being more efficient, we are able to handle more beneficiaries than we were previously able to,” Bischoff said.
The Department of Behavioral Health in the Gentry Clinic building provides a comprehensive array of outpatient services to eligible TRICARE beneficiaries at Fort Leavenworth. The programs and services include outpatient psychiatric care; individual and group psychotherapy; diagnostic evaluation and psychological testing; neuropsychological services; child, adolescent, and family care; command evaluations; and Family Advocacy services for child and spousal abuse services. Evaluation and management of psychotropic medications is currently only done for active-duty service members.
“We do not have the capacity right now to provide medication management to family members and retirees, but that is something that we continue to work at to provide,” Bischoff said.
Substance use treatment programs are provided by the Substance Use Disorder Clinic. The services include assessment, treatment, rehabilitation and after care for service members. Patients are encouraged to self-refer to the clinic and attend the clinic’s New Patient Orientation Group. Soldiers can also be referred by their commander.
MAHC also provides Family Advocacy Services that emphasizes prevention, education, prompt reporting, investigation, intervention and treatment of spouse and child abuse.
MAHC has added two pediatric psychologists, a social worker and a psychologist to its team.
In addition to the behavioral Health Services, MAHC offers a concussion and traumatic brain injury clinic in the Gentry Clinic building. The clinic’s services are overseen by a board-certified neuropsychologist and include neuropsychological testing, case management and command consultation.
“We would like our patients to go to their primary care provider following a suspected concussion,” said Dr. Patrick Armistead-Jehle, Concussion Clinic chief. “Most concussions heal within days to weeks and can be managed in primary care. If symptoms persist, then your primary care provider may refer you for specialty care.”
MAHC Behavioral Health Clinic business hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday. Call 684-6771/6772 for an appointment.
The clinic offers walk-in services from 7 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday and crisis care from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. No referral is necessary for behavioral health services. Beneficiaries should go to the nearest emergency room for emergencies after hours.