Rogers Behavioral Health, Children’s Wisconsin: Teens with chronic pain benefit from new collaboration

(BROWN DEER, WIS) — Rogers Behavioral Health and Children’s Wisconsin will collaborate on a new service model to better serve teens suffering from chronic pain and mental or behavioral health challenges. The Integrated Healing Program is the first collaboration of its kind in Wisconsin. Services will begin in late spring 2021 at Rogers Behavioral Health’s Brown Deer campus. 

Teens who are managing the impact of chronic health conditions such as debilitating headaches, musculoskeletal pain, complex regional pain syndrome, and abdominal pain will be supported by child and adolescent psychiatrists and behavioral health staff from Rogers, as well as health psychologists, physical therapists and pain medicine experts from Children’s Wisconsin. The goal of the Integrated Healing Program is to maximize the benefit of the treatment each health system offers to patients by establishing an information-sharing process.

The intensive outpatient rehabilitation services will provide medical evaluation and management, experiential therapy, and one-on-one and group physical therapy sessions. Additional assistance will be provided through family therapy meetings and parent education groups. The service components of the Integrated Healing Program are provided separately and independently by the health systems.  

“Children’s Wisconsin and Rogers Behavioral Health have identified great opportunities to use the expertise and strengths of both systems to benefit those with medical and mental and behavioral health needs. This collaboration is about improving access to specialized behavioral health care resources for families,” said Pat Hammer, president and CEO, Rogers.

Collaborative services through Rogers and Children’s Wisconsin are available for current or prospective medically stable patients, ages 13 through 18. The first step in determining whether a teen is a good fit for the Integrated Healing Program is to have them medically evaluated. Prospective patients will be evaluated by providers at Rogers and the Pain and Headache Center at Children’s Wisconsin.

“When a child is suffering from chronic pain, a comprehensive approach that supports the whole child and family is needed. The end goal is for these children to have the strategies and skills that allow them to manage their conditions so they can live healthy and thriving lives,” said Peggy Troy, president and CEO, Children’s Wisconsin.

Services will have a limited enrollment to start. The first year will be used to track outcomes and to measure success rates for kids in the program. Rogers and Children’s Wisconsin plan to expand services in future years.

“I have seen pain negatively impact too many children, but I have also seen incredible success when they get the right support. Working in this field for more than 30 years, I am confident this collaboration will improve care for the kids we serve,” said Steven J. Weisman, MD, Children’s Wisconsin Jane B. Pettit Chair in Pediatric Pain Management, and professor of anesthesiology and pediatrics, Medical College of Wisconsin.

“We are honored to work alongside Children’s Wisconsin and the Medical College of Wisconsin to deliver this unique, comprehensive care for children suffering from the complications of both pain and mental health disorders,” said Christopher Takala, DO, medical director, child and adolescent services for Rogers’ Brown Deer location.

This is just one example of how Rogers and Children’s Wisconsin are collaborating to improve access and treatment services in mental health care for Wisconsin kids. The two organizations are also working to identify other opportunities to better coordinate services so kids and families have easier access to the full continuum of care both organizations provide.