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Article Published March 5, 2020

Integrated Services, Patient-Centered Care: Shoreline Family Health Care Open in Branford

By Pam Johnson/

Offering integrated services and patient-centered care in medical, mental health and substance use treatment under one roof, Shoreline Family Health Care (SFHC) is now open at 221 West Main St. in Branford, located on the bus line in Lakeview Plaza near the East Haven town line.

Developed as a collaborative of two established care providers, BHcare (Branford) and Fair Haven Community Health Care (FHCHC), SFHC is unique to the area in that it offers all ages high quality primary medical and behavioral health services under the care of professional teams working together to ensure the best whole-health approach in adult, geriatric, pediatric and well child care.

When SFHC officially opened in early February 2020, Roberta J. Cook, CEO/President of BHcare, said, "...we're excited to bring this new and innovative model of care to the shoreline. Our goal is to provide the best care to the community by bringing the best teams together in one location. We will provide coordinated, comprehensive and seamless care for the whole family."

Said FHCHC CEO Dr. Suzanne Lagarde, "...this collaboration allows our patient care teams to share knowledge and work together to care for the whole person."

On March 3, Zip06/The Sound toured SFHC with BHcare Chief Program Officer Christine Anderson.

Like all medical facilities, SFHC has and will continue to institute and follow federal, state and local protocals and practices connected to the emergencence of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Anderson noted. 

A Look Inside SFHC

Three separate entrances help direct clients to SFHC's facility-within-a-facility offerings. One entrance leads into SFHC's open, airy medical appointment check-in and waiting areas. Another leads to separate waiting area and check-in for behavioral health appointments, programs and services. A third entrance is for SFHC's full-service pharmacy, SFHC Rx. 

Among it's 10,000 square feet of provider and service space, SFHC also houses a Quest Diagnostics lab on-site.

Clients arriving for services through SFHC's primary care facility are seen in one of 12 medical patient examination rooms; including some designed with flexible consultation spaces to allow behavioral health providers to step in for initial assessments or referrals, if needed.

"Everything's very individualized. Everything's very patient-centered," said Anderson.

SFHC's primary care centralized administrative/medical team areas, or "pods," have been designed to support SFHC's professional care coordination model, said Anderson.

"In order to really support a care coordination model that's team based and patient-centered, the team needs to be together [and] accessible -- so the patient gets what they need, and gets it fast," Anderson explained. ""So the folks sitting in these areas are medical assistants, nurses, doctors and the behavioral health provider."

In another part of the building, SFHC's behavioral health facility is where providers meet clients. SFHC offers substance use assessment and treatment as well individual, family, and group counseling. SFHC is currently ramping up to offer age-based children's Intensive Outpatient Programs, including regular group sessions and treatment programs, said Anderson.

In its mission to provide accessible health care, SFHC accepts most private health insurance and managed care plans, Medicaid/Husky and Medicare, and makes a sliding discount fee available. SFHC will also offer financial counseling assistance to clients, provided by a staff counselor (coming soon), said Anderson.

"So if somebody, for example, doesn't have the means to pay; but could qualify for Medicaid, this person would help them through that process and help to guide them and advise them," said Anderson.

SFHC Nurse Manager Melissa Montosa told Zip06/The Sound that, as shoreline residents become aware that the center is now open and learn of its integrated services, more people are coming in to seek care and services. New patients SFHC can elect to receive either primary care or mental health services, or benefit from having access to both.

"Little by little, people are getting to know we're here," said Montosa.

Currently, SFHC operates five days a week, including Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Wednesdays from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. SFHC has a physician or Advanced Practice Nurse (APRN), together with a behavioral health provider, at the center during operating hours, said Anderson.

Clients are telling SFHC staff they definitely appreciate the convenience of having all of SFHC's professional health care services they need one roof, said Anderson.

"The common theme we're hearing from the providers who are here every day is the convenience factor," said Anderson. "People are really excited about being able to come here and have that level of convenience."

For more information, call (203) 871-4188 or visit