Expanding to the Mentally Ill Population…
Psychiatric and adult disorders, also known as mental health disorders, are often interchangeable and a big part of community intervention through CHOP (Community Healthcare Outreach Program). This outreach started as SHOP (Senior Healthcare Outreach Program), a groundbreaking outreach for urban seniors in the community inaugurated in 2002 by Dr. Alfonse Salerno. This has evolved into CHOP with the founder’s son, Dr. Alexander G. Salerno, at the helm. Among its components are a return to the traditional house-call approach and another example of primary health care coming to the patients.
Adding Services for All Populations in Need…
In 2015, the program was renamed CHOP by Dr. Alexander Salerno, expanding its services to the mentally ill population of the state, which has long been underserved in the community. This has not eroded CHOP’s commitment to local seniors, who represent a significant population of those with psychiatric disorders. All populations in need, including both seniors and those with other psychiatric and adult disorders, now benefit from chronic disease management, a wide range of screenings and basic healthcare provisions as noted throughout CHOP website.
People with mental health disorders, especially those who are older and infirmed, are probably the most discriminated population in our country when it comes to health care access.
Those disorders include: schizophrenia bipolar disorder, severe clinical depression, post traumatic stress disorder, antisocial personality, autism and delusional disorder, to name some of the better known and most prevalent.
“Nobody wants that person in the waiting room next to someone’s grandmother, grandfather or child,” Dr. Salerno says compassionately of those with these adult disorders. “This is the population that is really driving healthcare expenditures up. It’s really defining reactive medicine.”
Reactive medicine is the opposite of preventive medicine and, unlike most physical ailments, may be tougher to diagnose and treat at younger ages. Medication often complicates the psychiatric disorder. Going off the prescribed medicine for clinical depression, for example, could aggravate suicidal tendencies and lead to other disastrous outcomes. Too many elderly people with mental health disorders live in isolation, even if they are recognized in health records as disabled and eligible for treatment and regular testing. By reporting regularly to a community behavioral health center, they improve their odds of living healthier lives and averting life threatening outcomes.
—“I just expanded on the house call model to provide house calls in churches and civic centers and barber shops and food pantries, behavioral health centers and places like that where people congregate. That’s why I started these programs and it kind of mushroomed.”— Dr. Alexander G. Salerno, Chief of Staff of Salerno Medical Associates—
Behavioral health centers often facilitate treatment among this population, especially with the inclusion of fully integrated primary care as provided through CHOP. Psychiatric disorders often go hand in hand with poor nutrition and other bad health habits like smoking and consumption of alcohol in combination with prescription drugs. This opens the door for obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other health assailants.
Dr. Salerno describes his dedication to community outreach for those who can’t get out for primary health care simply: “It needs to be more of a convenience in a system that has become inconvenient.”
— Call 973-676-0955 to learn more about CHOP and our community outreach to those with psychiatric and adult disorders—