Barton awarded grant to expand mental, behavioral health services

Submitted to the Tribune

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — To support vulnerable community members’ access to mental and behavioral health services, Barton Health is partnering with local therapists to expand care. 

With a $100,000 grant from Health Net awarded to Barton Community Health Center, Medicare and Medicaid patients can schedule virtual visits with licensed clinical social workers and marriage familytherapists contracted through Barton’s secure telehealth platform. This cooperative effort builds upon Barton’s expert psychiatric services and makes additional patient care available in a time of need.

During the pandemic, board-certified psychiatrists at Barton Psychiatry and Barton Behavioral Health have been providing care virtually through telehealth to minimize risk of exposure to the coronavirus for patients and health care workers alike. Barton will leverage its digital healthcare delivery platforms in this partnership to increase the community’s access to local therapists, as well as expand and diversify its mental and behavioral health services.

Health Net provides health plans in California for individuals, families, and businesses that qualify for Medicare or Medi-Cal health benefits. Health Net awarded the grant to Barton as part of its $13.4 million funding project to provide safe virtual pathways for patients to healthcare, especially for those in rural areas.

“Working together in our shared commitment to caring for our community, we are helping patients safely get the care they need,” said Dr. Matthew Wonnacott, chief medical officer at Barton Health. “This collaboration marks the solution-driven efforts of health leaders to address the unprecedented challenges we face with COVID-19, and the increased need for mental and behavioral health resources in our area.”

“Providing increased access to care during the era of COVID-19 is critical to ensuring our most vulnerable populations stay healthy and safe,” said Brian Ternan, President and CEO, Health Net of California and California Health & Wellness. “Reaching out for help is incredibly important and telehealth is key to ensuring access to care is not interrupted.” 

According to residents surveyed in Barton’s Community Health Needs Assessment, mental health is identified as a priority in the local area. Barton encourages the community to talk to their primary care provider for a referral to supportive services. 

For more information on mental and behavioral health care, including resources available in the local area, visit

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