Compass Health will provide its mental health clients with better access to physicians

EVERETT — Too often, mental health patients don’t get the medical help they need.

They get counseling to help with psychological issues, but their medical problems frequently go unattended.

This gap has led to a national trend of those with mental illness having a lifespan 25 years shorter than the general public, said Tom Sebastian, chief executive of Compass Health, the largest mental health organization in Snohomish County.

Through a partnership with Molina Healthcare of Washington, Compass will begin offering medical services at its clinic at 3322 Broadway in Everett beginning in February.

Sebastian said that providing medical services was one of the most important things that the organization can provide its patients, and the fulfillment of a long-term goal.

“Going back 20 years, we began with providing low-income housing,” he said.

But the people coming to the organization for mental health services also had a variety of other problems, such as living in poverty, needing employment, housing and health care services, he said.

“Health care has been the biggest challenge by far,” Sebastian said.

Few mental health organizations around the country have been able to house mental and medical health services at one location, he said.

The idea for the clinic first arose during a lunch Sebastian had with Glen Bogner, president of Molina Healthcare of Washington.

The medical clinic hopes to begin treating its first patients on Feb. 1, and fully open its 4,000 square feet of space in the following weeks, Bogner said.

Patients can be treated for a variety of medical issues as well as drug and alcohol problems.

Although Molina has 17 medical clinics in Southern California, this is the organization’s first clinic in Washington, Bogner said.

Molina provides medical services for people on government health care programs, such as Medicaid and Medicare.

Patient visits will be scheduled a little longer than typical at medical clinics, he said, so that the physician and the patient can talk through issues such as changes in medications.

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486, salyer@heraldnet.com.

Contact the clinic

For more information on the new medical clinic at Compass Health, or general information about its programs, call 888-693-7200.

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