On October 22, the Board of Commissioners for Kittitas Valley Healthcare approved the credentials for Lori Drews, ARNP, to become a KVH employee. Lori is an advanced registered nurse practitioner who specializes in adult psychiatric mental healthcare. She has been practicing independently in Ellensburg for the past five years.
Lori primarily cares for patients with common conditions such as depression, anxiety, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). She uses solution-based counseling techniques and works with patients on coping skills to help them improve their day-to-day function and manage triggers that worsen their conditions. She is also able to prescribe medication for these conditions if needed.
“I grew up in this community, and am so pleased to now be part of the system of care that has been here for me throughout my life,” said Drews. “I look forward to being able to devote more of my time to caring for my patients and less of my time on the administrative functions required to run a business.”
For the time being, Lori will continue to see patients in her office on Mountain View Avenue in Ellensburg. Plans are being made to integrate Lori, and the services she provides, into the offices of KVH Family Medicine – Ellensburg.
This integration of behavioral or mental health services and primary care medicine falls directly in line with Washington State’s Health Care Innovation Plan, which promotes transformative changes to how healthcare is provided within our state. The plan was drafted in 2014. It includes better integration of care for individuals with both physical and mental health needs as one of three broad strategies that are expected to result in better health, better care, and lower costs for state residents.
Integration of behavioral or mental health services and primary care medicine was identified as a focus area because, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, people with mental illness have more co-occurring health conditions than people without mental illness. This includes conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, and asthma.
Coordination and integration of care for patients with both physical and mental health needs has been shown to reduce hospitalizations and emergency department visits.