SafeMinds' Dr. Michael Cummings and Janell Van Cleve on APIC Access to Psychiatry through Intermediate Care Program
From our friends at SafeMinds, an important message for families.
Research shows that up to 56 percent of people with autism aggress against their caregivers, and that autism mothers have been shown to have the same level of stress as combat soldiers. There are few resources and support services available to meet the behavioral and mental health needs of the growing population of people with autism, and those who care for them.
Fortunately, SafeMinds Board Vice President Dr. Michael Cummings, M.D., and SafeMinds Research Committee Member Janell Van Cleve, have pioneered a program known as Access to Psychiatry through Intermediate Care Program (APIC). The grant-funded APIC program makes house calls to families facing challenging behaviors in 17 New York counties, free of charge.
APIC focuses on four specific areas—medical needs, alternative behavioral health therapies, home environment, and time for caregivers to get respite. Pairs of APIC staff members meet with families in crisis situations, connect them with medical and social service providers, and collaborate on strategies for preventing avoidable emergency room and extended hospital stays related to challenging, aggressive behaviors.
The program has achieved measurable success. Dr. Cummings reports that, according to Erie County Medicaid data, the APIC program has assisted in reaching a 40 percent reduction in hospitalizations, 30 percent reduction in ER visits, and a 50 percent increase in outpatient case management visits during the past 3.5 years, among the population it serves. Family reported aggression measures decreased by 40 percent, and family distress fell by 50 percent. Read more here.