MESA, AZ, JANUARY 6, 2020:  Copa Health, powered by Marc Community Resources and Partners in Recovery, is pleased to announce a collaborative effort with Happy Kids Pediatrics to bring behavioral health services to the 35,000 member valley clinics.

“The collaboration is important because it adds to the level of care for the underserved, especially for the Hispanic population. Happy Kids is one of the largest pediatric groups in town. Their desire to integrate their clinics creates a path to providing whole healthcare to a vulnerable population,” notes Copa Health CEO Dr. Shar Najafi-Piper.

The goal is to get children the care they need through early intervention. A family survey conducted for the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) found that 63 percent of families reported their child first exhibited behavioral or emotional problems at seven years of age or younger. Pediatricians are the first point of contact, but only 34 percent of families in the NAMI survey reported their pediatrician or primary care physician was knowledgeable about mental illness.

Bringing the model into the pediatric setting is a first step between the healthcare organizations, dedicated to combining primary with mental health care in one location and enabling patients to access a wider array of services and resources.

Christian Leon, COO of Happy Kids, agrees. “Every project at Happy Kids has the same objective, to provide quality care to our community. This partnership will help us integrate behavioral health into our clinics and help reduce the stigma that our community sometimes has towards behavioral health issues.”

Copa Health will oversee integration efforts by recruiting, hiring and managing behavioral health personnel in the clinics. The introduction will begin with two clinics, one in the East Valley and one in the West Valley, and expand to all six Happy Kids Pediatrics clinics by the end of 2021.

“Happy Kids will be providing services by way of adding screening, brief intervention and referral for behavioral health services when indicated. This will revolutionize the primary care practice given its ability to treat behavioral health issues in-house versus having to refer out,” adds Najafi-Piper.

Copa Health, providing behavioral health services along with intellectual and developmental disability services, has been administering care for over 60 years across Arizona. The organization is guided by its purpose of inspiring health, hope and happiness through delivering world-class solutions to individuals, families and communities.

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