Client Spotlight: Alliance Behavioral Health

Alliance Behavioral Health, situated within Crestwood Professional Center on Chateau Drive, is making great strides within the behavioral healthcare community. Co-owners, Katie Lewallen, Ph.D. and W. Jeff Bryson, Ph.D., have created an advanced practice that views mental health holistically.

And now, after celebrating its six-month anniversary in patient care, it’s developed a team, culture, and level of service that stands out.

“For so long, behavioral health practitioners have operated in silos, apart from the rest of the medical community,” said Katie. “But that mentality is quickly shifting and we will continue to see more and more mental and physical health professionals working in sync.”

According to Katie and Jeff, patients will find the greatest success when mental and physical health is addressed as a whole.

“Here at Alliance, we come up with plans to provide services for patients in a way that they can be seen more often and more efficiently,” explained Jeff. “We are here to offer our own specialized services and connect our clients with the best resources available. Sometimes, that means directing them to the correct specialist, introducing them to one of the counselors on our team, or directing them to an outside provider that may better serve his or her individual needs. We aim to be a hub of behavioral health within the North Alabama community.”

Crestwood Professional Center

Forming An Alliance

“In order to advance patient-centered healthcare, we have to realize that we can’t treat symptoms in isolation,” stated Katie. “We have to take care of mental health for physical health to improve. Alliance was created with the objective of integrating behavioral health with the broader healthcare community.”

After working together for five years, Katie and Jeff realized that they shared a vision for how and where a behavioral health practice should go. It was then the two decided to collaborate and make Alliance a reality.

“Like our name suggests, we have formed an alliance of behavioral health professionals who are passionate about what they do,” said Katie. “But the alliance extends beyond our office. We make an effort to work with clients’ family practitioners, therapists, educators, specialists, and others on their care team to get the full picture of their health.”

Within the medical community, patients are likely to encounter a number of specialists that deal with different issues individually. Alliance integrates information and input from all sources so they can develop the most effective treatment plans possible.

A Broad Spectrum of Services

Alliance offers services to all ages and specializes in a variety of disorders from the more common to extremely rare.

“We always welcome the more complex and challenging cases,” guaranteed Jeff. “In my training, I was fortunate enough to work in an environment where I was able to assist on very rare cases. We aim to do everything we can to improve their quality of life and get them functioning again, regardless of how challenging or uncommon the condition.”

Comprehensive assessments, collaborative treatment planning, psychological testing, and ongoing counseling are all under the umbrella of services offered at ABH.

“Alliance is a multidisciplinary practice,” clarified Katie. “We provide a broad range of ongoing services and each patient receives highly individualized care. It’s a technology-driven practice too that utilizes some of the most innovative and advanced techniques within the behavioral health community.”

Katie, a licensed clinical psychologist, focuses her services on children who are struggling in school or having some sort of difficulty succeeding academically or at home. Furthermore, she helps patients achieve their goals with assessments for ADHD, specific learning disorders like dyslexia, mood and anxiety disorders, and personality issues.

“I think it sounds really simple, but I love my job because I know I’m making a difference in people’s everyday lives,” shared Katie. “Watching my clients gain confidence and decrease stress is such a privilege for me.”

Jeff’s services cover a different area.

“One of the best things about our practice is our ability to provide different niche services,” said Jeff. “I specialize in health service psychology, neuropsychology, and I assess clients for a number of conditions associated with how the brain functions. Some of my cases have chronic health issues that they are dealing with and require very specialized treatment.”

The Alliance Behavioral Health team also includes three licensed professional counselors, Megan Caudle, M.Ed., LPC-S, Scott Kincaid, LPC-S, NCC, and Amy Bryan, LPC. Temple Bryson, MS, provides direct clinical assistance to the psychologists in order for patients’ assessment data to be collected and managed more efficiently. Taylor Ballard is ABH’s administrative director and ensures a quality patient experience and ongoing support for the administrative needs of the practice.

“We are all experts in our respective areas,” explained Katie. “But one of the things that sets Alliance apart is our focus on teamwork and creating connections. That’s the backbone of our culture.”

A Culture of Collaboration

“One of the reasons we felt driven to create Alliance was the need for a highly collaborative company culture,” shared Jeff. “There are a lot of practices we have put into place that not only improves the lives of our healthcare team but helps patients as well.”

Each month, the ABH team spends time reviewing cases as a group in an effort to optimize individualized treatment plans and break through barriers.

“When we sit around a table and offer insight into each other’s cases, it really gives us perspectives we wouldn’t have otherwise had,” said Katie. “Working as a team lets us put many trained minds on particularly challenging cases. It’s how we have breakthroughs—and it’s all geared toward making the experience and care of the patient successful.”

While each of the healthcare providers at ABH have specialized training and offer varying services, each team member is considered equally important to the vitality of the office. This also extends to the administrative staff.

“We all run this place together,” clarified Jeff. “From the front desk to our treatment rooms, everyone who interacts with our patients is equally important to our success and the success of our clients.” And, according to Katie and Jeff, that’s what has unified the team and made it a wonderful place to come to work each day.

“It’s true,” added Katie. “Taylor at our front desk accomplishes things that I could never do. He’s an expert at what he does and he is the first face our patients see when they walk in. We know that he will make sure they are treated well and have a pleasant experience.”

Currently, there are five full-time counselors/psychologists providing care at Alliance, but Katie said there is room for a few more.

“We are open to meeting additional providers who are interested in working with our company model,” said Katie. “Mental health professionals are trained to rely on consultation and peer support, but once we get to the real world that can be hard to come by. We have done our best to facilitate a supportive group within our team at Alliance.”

Looking to the Future

“Our practice is about building bridges between behavioral health and the rest of the medical community,” said Jeff. “We’ve designed Alliance to be a highly adaptive office that can easily evolve with the changing healthcare dynamics. In the future, we will continue to grow by adding more technology, providing education to other practitioners, and creating more connections with different providers.”

Jeff also shared that ABH hopes to further advance the use of technology within the practice, including incorporating the use of biofeedback and creating an active research program.

Katie added that the team is working on the cutting edge of what behavioral health research is saying—that patient-centered, technology-driven care is enhanced by collaboration. And part of that is creating more connections with other healthcare fields in the future.

“At the end of the day, it comes down to making a difference,” assured Katie. “Our patients need to be heard, and we tackle each day with a common goal. We want to impact patients’ lives in a positive way. No one should feel alone on their journey toward a happier, healthier life.”

Interested in learning more about Alliance? Visit the company website here: https://alliancehsv.com

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CRUNKLETON COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE GROUP
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Inquiring Minds Behavioral And Developmental Services Opens Its Doors

“When one of my relatives was diagnosed on the autism spectrum, he began early intervention therapy,” said Vasuda Bangalore, Owner and Board Certified Behavior Analyst at Inquiring Minds Behavioral and Developmental Services.

“After seeing the positive difference it made in his life, I knew I wanted to dedicate my time and energy to offering the same type of support through Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy.”

Being a part of the growth and success of children on the spectrum is something that has always been near to Vasuda’s heart. When she saw a need for these types of services in Huntsville, it motivated her to open a clinic and become a resource for children who could benefit from ABA.

What Is Inquiring Minds?

Inquiring Minds is a new outpatient clinic that serves the needs of children and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and related developmental disabilities. With a goal of helping their clients thrive independently, the clinic offers a wide array of services for both children and their families/caregivers.

“Improving the life of someone on the spectrum can involve many things,” said Vasuda. “Social skills, learning how to dress, communication skills, and potty training—all these fall into our scope of therapy. We want to give our clients the tools to succeed on their own and live a confident, self-sufficient life.”

The needs of individual clients between the ages of 6 months to 21 years can vary. This requires Vasuda and her team to always be on top of their game and maintain continuing education and training.

“All therapists at Inquiring Minds are required to complete a rigorous 40-hour training program, pass an in-house competency test, and complete a competency test that’s credentialed by the Behavior Analysts Certification Board (BACB),” said Vasuda. “This applies to incoming therapists with prior certifications and experience in the field to help maintain accuracy and consistency.”

“We do monthly checks with therapists to make sure therapy is running efficiently,” she said. “I provide ongoing supervision and training weekly, as well.”

Because the team at Inquiring Minds believes therapy should be available to everyone, they offer services not only at the clinic but also in-home and in the community.

“Sometimes we travel up to 30 miles from the clinic to provide our services,” she said. “That includes Arab, Athens, Brownsboro, Decatur, Florence, Gurley, Hampton Cove, Hartselle, Harvest, Hazel Green, Madison, Meridianville, and New Market. If we believe we can make an impact, we will make it happen.”

Opening A Clinic

As a student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Vasuda was eager to pursue her dream of working in the medical field. She found her calling when she discovered ABA therapy and began working toward her bachelor’s in psychology. This led to her earning a master’s in psychometrics at the University of Louisiana at Monroe and obtaining her board certification as a behavior analyst (BCBA).

After discovering the need for additional ABA therapy in the Huntsville area, Vasuda began the process of opening her own clinic. In June, the doors at Inquiring Minds officially opened at the Crestwood Women’s Center located at 185 Chateau Drive.

“We have grown a lot faster than anyone anticipated,” said Vasuda. “Already, I have hired six additional Registered Behavior Technicians—RBTs for short—and an office manager. Our speedy growth solidified that there is a need for our services in the area, and we are more than thrilled to offer it to the best of our ability.”

As the clinic grows, Vasuda plans to add more staff to ensure additional one-on-one therapy time and attention to individual clients.

“We hire based on enrollment,” said Vasuda. “The typical case load for a consultant is anywhere from 8-15 children max. We are already growing past that. The staff I work with is incredible and everyone is a team player. The passion for what we are trying to accomplish is astounding.”

The business also attracted the attention of a local college, and a unique opportunity was presented to Inquiring Minds upon its opening.

“A partnership with the University of Alabama in Huntsville just kind of fell into my lap,” said Vasuda. “It has allowed us to be yet another option for children looking for therapy and training.”

The team currently offers after-school therapy and consulting for the PALS (Preschool Autism Language & Social Skills) program at the RISE School in addition to their day-to-day operations.

The Inquiring Minds Mission:

 “We aim to deliver exceptional, comprehensive, and culturally-sensitive, one-on-one care through education, acceptance, and evidence-based interventions to enhance the well-being and lifestyle of individuals and families living with autism and related developmental disorders.”

Becoming A Resource

More than anything else, Vasuda said that Inquiring Minds wants to be a resource for anyone looking for ABA services.

“Never be afraid to reach out and see how you can help improve the life of your child or loved one,” said Vasuda. “If we can’t provide the appropriate service, we will point you to someone in the area who can. There are many options out there, and we are here to help you find them.”

For more information on Inquiring Minds, click here. You can also follow them on Facebook and Instagram for updates.

 Contact Vasuda and the team directly by email at admin@inquiringmindsbds.com.

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CRUNKLETON COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE GROUP
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Innova Primary Care: Leading The Way In Patient-Centered Health Care

“Providing quality medical care is about more than prescribing medications and performing procedures,” explained Brooke Uptagrafft, Medical Director of Innova Primary Care. “It’s about making patients feel valued and going much deeper than what society considers to be the standard for primary health care.”

With the dream of leading the way in patient-centered medical care, Dr. Brooke Uptagrafft and husband David Uptagrafft have relocated Innova Primary Care to a newly renovated building on Chateau Drive in the heart of Huntsville.

“We were out of room at our previous location,” said David Uptagrafft, Director of Operations. “We have a lot of plans down the road for offering more services, and this space gives us the ability to do just that.”

The new facility will allow the practice to focus on the needs of individual patients through faster service, increased one-on-one time, health coaching, and more.

Brooke and David also shared some exciting news. Innova is now an officially recognized PCMH (Patient-Centered Medical Home) Level 3 practice.

“The PCMH recognition is pretty unique to the Huntsville area,” said David. “This recognition points to our ability to provide the highest quality care while reducing costs, improving patient-staff relationships, and putting patients at the forefront of importance. It’s a reform in health care delivery that supports the shift to value-based care.”

But the pursuit of creating a better primary care experience in Huntsville began earlier in 2011 when Brooke and David moved back to the area and Dr. Brooke accepted a position at a local practice.

A Brief History of Innova

After Brooke completed her residency, the couple decided to return to Huntsville—their hometown—in order to be closer to family. After looking at practices in and around the area, they were contacted by Dr. Tim Howard and Dr. Michael Carter for an interview. In October 2011, Dr. Brooke joined Gleneagles Family Medicine.

“It was a wonderful place to start,” said Brooke. “In 2013, Dr. Howard decided to retire. So that meant there was another influx of patients. We experienced rapid growth from then on and officially launched the BrookeMD Primary Care brand in 2016.”

After several conversations, Dr. Carter and BrookeMD decided to officially divide the practices. The team successfully shared the space at Gleneagles Drive for a year. But as BrookeMD continued to grow, the need for additional space could not be ignored.

“We looked at all kinds of options,” remarked Brooke. “But when we found this building, we knew it was what we needed. So, we purchased it and began remodeling.”

In January 2017, BrookeMD Primary Care rebranded itself to Innova Primary Care to represent a team-based mentality and rebirth at its new location.

An Innovative Space

“This new space means patients are going to be getting back to rooms even faster,” said Brooke. “We already have short wait times, but this change means we will have more space to place guests into a room, freeing up providers to spend more time with patients without feeling time crunched.” She also said the space would make more services possible later this year.

“We have added a Care Coordinator to the team, and a Health Coach is coming later in the fall,” she said. “We will be doing a lot of patient education right in the exam rooms without having to schedule them to come back at a later date or call them on the phone.”

As a primary care facility, the space had to serve many functions—one of which was enabling a comfortable space for staff and providers to have conversations with their patients.

“The functionality and form of the space were vital in our effort to make care more personalized and emotionally safe for our guests,” said David. “We didn’t want our facility to be intimidating or dehumanizing, we wanted to create something that would encourage and empower patients to be an active voice in their healthcare.”

At Innova, every exam room is equipped with comfortable chairs and a cafe table where patients can view their medical records on the computer monitor with their provider.

Image courtesy of Innova Primary Care.

In addition to more spacious and functional exam rooms, the new facility also features consultation rooms that serve as a safe space for patients and staff to discuss any health concerns or have new patient orientations. David also mentioned the importance of technology within the new facility that makes operations run smoother.

“Technology is a big component of what we do,” he said. “The model for health care is changing rapidly, and we provide our patients with tools that make the process of receiving quality care much easier.”

Patient Empowerment Through Technology

In 2014, Innova made Healow—a health and online wellness app—available to patients, allowing clients to book appointments, check in, view lab records, medications, and more. The app is also password protected for enhanced privacy.

“We want our patients engaged,” said Brooke. “Healow is one way to accomplish that. A large number of our patients utilize it, and we continue to see steady growth in its use.” With the expectations for quality medical care shifting, Innova strives to advocate positive change through patient empowerment tools. This includes the adoption of state-of-the-art technology.

“We have more exciting news regarding our technology at Innova,” teased David. “Stay tuned for future announcements when we share more about an exciting partnership.”

A Passion to Make Patients Feel Valued

Brooke and David carry something into the practice each day that’s worth much more than a functional new building or high-tech medical tools. They have a desire to make everyone involved with Innova feel important and cared for.

“I believe that the world is a broken place,” Brooke urged. “I feel that I am here, and have been given the skills and the experience to try and make the world a little less broken.”

“For some people, Innova is the place they go to feel valued. When they walk out the door, they may not feel it anymore. But when they are at our practice, I want to give them a little piece of that. At Innova, you are cared for—mind, body, and soul.”

To learn more about Innova Primary Care, visit https://innovaprimarycare.com. You can also follow them on Facebook.

For media inquiries or questions about the new location, contact Innova Primary Care Public Relations Coordinator, Morgan Boone, at morgan.boone@myinnovacare.com.

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HALEY CLEMONS
MARKETING COORDINATOR
CRUNKLETON COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE GROUP
HALEY@CRUNKLETONASSOCIATES.COM