#RealWorldHIE – AuSable Valley CMHA

Written by: Emmalilly Hoxsie

Coordinating physical and behavioral health

Located in Northern Michigan, the AuSable Valley Community Mental Health Authority (AVCHMA) provides prevention, education, and mental health services. They serve Iosco, Ogemaw, and Oscoda counties and have offices in Tawas City, Oscoda, Mio, and West Branch.

AVCHMA envisions a future where consumers achieve physical and mental health sufficient to empower them to achieve their dreams and desires for greater independence, greater personal responsibility, and full participation in community life.

Choosing GLHC

Fred Overholt is the Chief Information Officer at AVCHMA. He and others from the leadership team recently shared how Great Lakes Health Connect solutions, specifically the Virtual Integrated Patient Record (VIPR), has changed the way they provide services.

AVCMHA investigated many Health Information Exchange (HIE) options when working to meeting State of Michigan requirements. They chose to work with GLHC because of the existing relationships that GLHC had with other organizations in Northern Michigan and because of their ability to work well with PCE Systems, their electronic health record system. AVCMHA leverages three GLHC solutions: Direct Messaging, participation in the Active Care Relationship Service (ACRS) program, and accessing VIPR.

Integrating and Enhancing Care

Leadership at AVCMHA implemented VIPR in order to better integrate behavioral and physical care. It has helped them move from Case Management model to Care Management model. Staff in the following programs use VIPR: Family Program, Case Management, and Outpatient Therapy.  In total, 70 staff members use the tool.

The holistic care that AVCMHA strives to provide to consumers requires knowledge of all areas of life. Both physical and behavioral health services benefit when care providers are knowledgeable of all possible health concerns.  Some situations that VIPR helps them learn about include; when consumers use emergency services as primary health care, changes in medications that could interact with psych medications, concerning laboratory results, and encounters that require follow up.  By being aware of these possible health conditions, staff assist with care coordination and bridge any gaps is services.

Interoperability Is Possible

AVCMA staff access VIPR through PCE Systems, their electronic health record. This single sign on access keeps staff in the EHR and automatically navigates the user to the consumer’s record.  The roll out of VIPR consisted of upper level management getting access first to demonstrate the value to supervisors.  An article, written by Fred Overholt, Chief Information Officer, about VIPR was then placed in the staff newsletter. All staff also received an email with video instruction on how to access the tool and how the information in the tool could help them.

AVCMHA looks forward to more organizations in the northeast region of the lower peninsula of Michigan gaining access to VIPR.


This blog is part of the #RealWorldHIE series, highlighting the successes of Great Lakes Health Connect participants.