More than 750 Missourians served by PFH Disease Management Services
As statewide director of Preferred Family Healthcare's Disease Management program in Missouri, Mike Push says it's the little victories that make a difference. "If we can help one person make a change that will improve their life, even a little bit or maybe even just for that day, then we call it a success and move on to day two," Push explained. "The people we deal with have chronic health issues and, most of the time, they have no idea what they need to do to help themselves. It's a one-step-at-a-time process." With 750 clients being served by a staff of 20, including community support specialists, therapists, outreach specialists and a nurse, PFH is a leading provider of disease management services in the state. Staff are mostly located in northern Missouri and in the St. Louis area, but staff members also operate out of offices in Springfield, Jefferson City and Liberty. The goal of Disease Management, which operates under the Substance Use Disorder (SUD) service line, is to provide case management to people who have substance use disorders, along with chronic health issues. Clients eligible for the program must have a substance use disorder and have more than $20,000 in Medicaid pharmaceutical and medical costs per year. Push explained that many people with substance use disorders also have chronic medical issues, such as heart disease, diabetes, or respiratory disease. In the past, SUD treatment and medical treatment have been provided separately. Under Missouri's Disease Management program, a whole person approach is adopted in which community support specialists assist clients with their overall health care needs so the treatment plan is person-centered and coordinated. Every six months, a list of potential clients that are eligible for the program are provided by the Missouri Department of Health. "It's our job to hit the streets to try to find these people and see if we can help them," Push said. "That help could include getting them in to a substance abuse treatment program, counseling, or medication, nutrition and exercise education. Other times, it might be connecting them with other sources in the community that can help with housing, utilities and other forms of assistance." He said the work is challenging because many of their clients are homeless or stay with different friends or relatives. Many times, the people don't want help, he said. Push said he is very proud of his staff and the dedication they have to their jobs. "It takes a special person to do this type of work. I put the system in place, but it is our people who are out there on the front line who deserve credit for the success of the program. They are truly making a difference in the lives of the clients we serve."