Allison’s Story

Allison’s Story

Uniting Medical and Behavioral Health Care for Rural Beatrice

Allison’s Story

I am a Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner, Licensed Professional Counselor, and a provisionally Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor at Beatrice Community Hospital and Health Center. I was born and raised in Beatrice, NE and chose to come back to my hometown to work on making changes that are so important to me: integrated care. I received my Masters of Arts in Counseling from Doane University in 2018, and am currently working on obtaining my Doctorate in Behavioral Health, which is heavily focused in implementing integrated behavioral and medical health care. I hope to make behavioral health care more accessible to our community.

In my practice, we work to stress the importance of integrated care, which is when behavioral care providers and medical care providers work together to provide the best possible outcomes for our patients. Working side-by-side with interdisciplinary medical professionals helps us to best meet our patients’ needs. But you might be asking, “Why is this important?” After all, behavioral care providers are trained in providing care, but working with other professionals helps the entire body, mind and soul to be treated.

Integrating behavioral and medical care is important because sometimes medical related issues can influence or even be a cause of mental and behavioral health related disorders, and vice versa. For example, depression can be a symptom of hypothyroidism, which is an endocrine disease in which the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones. Having an integrated care model means that we can work together to treat depression while also making sure we can identify a potential underlying cause of depression. Just like anxiety and panic can cause physical feelings of distress, such as sharp chest pain that can often be thought of to be a heart attack, it becomes important to know exactly what needs to be treated first, and our rule of thumb always is “medical rule-out first, then behavioral health care and treatment.” These are just a few of many examples of why integrated care is so important. Ensuring that our patients medical needs are met also decreases barriers to accessing the holistic care needed to make sure our patients live their healthiest, best lives.

I love rural health because I have the opportunity to directly advocate for my patient’s needs through community involvement.

Allison Sand
Mental Health Practitioner, Counselor, provisionally licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor
Beatrice Community Hospital and Health Center