Dennis Freeman, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Cherokee Health Systems (CHS) today testified before the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. Freeman’s remarks underscored the importance of increasing patient access to mental health services in primary care settings, especially for people who live in inner cities and rural areas, as well as those struggling without insurance coverage. Freeman also described for lawmakers the groundbreaking Integrated Care model that Cherokee Health Systems uses to achieve positive health outcomes for all of its patients.
The health center, which operates 24 clinical locations across 13 East Tennessee counties, has become a national leader in improving health and wellness outcomes through innovation and excellence. The health center is a pioneer in integrating primary and behavioral care, placing behavioral health providers alongside primary care providers to ensure a full, team-based approach to patients’ physical, mental, and addiction challenges. The health center was also honored last year by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) for its work in behavioral health and for delivering services that directly address the psychological, social and environmental factors that affect overall health.
CHS is both a Federally-Qualified Health Center (FQHC) and Community Mental Health Center (CMHC ), serving over 70,000 Tennesseans annually on a sliding-fee scale to ensure that no patient is ever denied treatment based on an inability to pay