WEBSTER COUNTY, Ky. (1/23/12) - Providence resident David Higgins, a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, will now be calling the Health First Community Health Center in Providence home.
Higgins, a native of Mt. Vernon, IN moved to Providence thirteen years ago. For the last three years he has worked in his own private practice, but he says working under the same roof as Health First’s clinical medicine staff offers many more advantages for his patients.
“It was frustrating in private practice not having a doctor right down the hall,” he said. “Now if I’m seeing a client and I feel they could benefit from medication therapy as well as counseling, we’re all in the same building.”
Higgins said while working for himself, he often found it difficult to juggle the schedules of his clients as well as the doctors he would have to refer them to.
“This just provides better patient care,” he said.
“There is a movement of sorts to get behavioral medicine and clinical medicine to work as a team or at least in a more close collaborative effort,” said Health First CEO Bill Smith. “The federal Medicaid folks have put out a program where some of the behavioral interventions are eligible for reimbursement if they are done in a collaborative way.”
According to Smith, states have begun to adopt guidelines in order to qualify for this.
“Missouri is the first state, and I think the only state, thus far to modify their State Plan and get qualified,” he said. “Our PCA will, I think, champion such an effort for Kentucky.”
Higgins specializes in anxiety and mood disorders, but is also a Board Certified Professional Christian Counselor and holds a Marriage Works certificate. He sees patients for various reasons, both from referrals and just people off the street who felt like they needed some help.
“There is unfortunately stigma associated with saying you see a councilor or therapist,” Higgins said. “I see my role as telling people it's okay. It’s okay to reach out and say ‘life is throwing me curve balls, can you help me with this?’”
He said he has also found himself having to do “damage control” because of Counselor who weren’t helpful in the past.
“If someone has had a bad experience they’re really reluctant to go back,” Higgins said. “Sometimes they could really have used it.”
Higgins started with Health First on January 3, 2013. He also serves as a professor in the School of Professional Counseling at Lindsey Wilson College and as a member of the Webster County School Board.
J-E News Editor
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