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October 19, 2017

Patients Benefit from Behavioral Health Collaboration with Family Practice

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Clinician on Site Enhances Integrative Care at ThedaCare Physicians-Neenah

When ThedaCare Physicians-Neenah added adult behavioral health clinician Julie Feider this summer, the benefits to both staff and patients were quickly realized.

“Having good mental health is really important because it affects so much of what we do throughout the day, directly impacting our relationships and our ability to function at work and at home,” Feider said. “When we’re not feeling well mentally, left unchecked for too long these symptoms can begin to affect our physical health. Everything is connected.”

While it’s up to doctors to rule out key physical problems rooted in cardiovascular or intestinal causes, referring patients to a behavioral health clinician to deal with anxiety or depression can help alleviate accompanying physical symptoms.

“It’s all part of the prescription for helping patients to feel better,” said Megan Kane, DO, family medicine physician at ThedaCare Physicians-Neenah. Having Feider physically present at the clinic also allows Dr. Kane and other physicians to readily consult with Feider on behavioral health-related questions and makes it easier to offer referrals.

“It’s nice to have a counselor be right in the same building as their primary care physician,” Dr. Kane said. “Previously, we would refer to outside counselors, and I wouldn’t know who patients would see. But with Julie there, I can say, ‘You can see Julie, and she’s right downstairs.’”

“When you know someone personally on staff, you’re much more likely to have confidence in the referral – there’s a name and a face to go along with it,” Feider said. “And I think that it sends a sense of confidence to the patient.”

Additionally, having counselors in the building makes it easy to eliminate reluctance due to drive time or unfamiliarity with a location, Dr. Kane said. “Before, patients would say, ‘I don’t have time for that,’” she said. “Now, there’s more incentive for patients to follow through with that part of their treatment plan.”

“I really believe integrative services is the way of the future in caring for the people in our community,” Feider said.

ThedaCare Physicians-Neenah opened its new facility in February at 333 N. Green Bay Road, integrating family practice, internal medicine, a full-service lab, and imaging services such as mammograms, bone density testing and X-rays. Developing its family practice collaborative model with ThedaCare Behavioral Health complements the other integrative services that the location offers.

Feider, who relocated from the ThedaCare Behavioral Health Menasha clinic, is a licensed professional counselor. She received her bachelor’s degree in social work and a master’s degree in education from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. She is a member of the American Counseling Association and specializes in helping adults struggling with stress, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorders, depression, grief and loss, as well as patients who’ve experienced mild to severe trauma.

ThedaCare Behavioral Health provides services including one-on-one counseling to address conditions including anxiety, depression, attention deficit (ADHD), bipolar disorder, substance abuse, neuropsychological impairment, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, along with other mental illnesses.

For more than 100 years, ThedaCare™ has been committed to finding a better way to deliver serious and complex healthcare to patients throughout Northeast Wisconsin. The organization serves over 200,000 patients annually and employs more than 7,000 healthcare professionals throughout the region. ThedaCare has seven hospitals located in Appleton, Neenah, Berlin, Waupaca, Shawano, New London and Wild Rose as well as 34 clinics in nine counties. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a non-profit healthcare organization with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs as well as a foundation dedicated to community service. For more information, visit or follow ThedaCare on Facebook and Twitter.