An epidemic and pandemic: Addressing substance use disorder and behavioral health patients during COVID-19

This webinar is on-demand and can be viewed at your convenience.

As COVID-19 continues to impact the nation, providers are facing sudden spikes in the number of patients with behavioral health conditions and substance use disorder — many of whom also face issues regarding social determinants of health.

Providing meaningful care for these patients in the wake of COVID-19 requires a full, collaborative, community effort.

Dr. Brian Patel, chief of emergency medicine at Sturdy Memorial Hospital, and Deborah Jean Parsons, PhD, director of integrated care at Aspire Health Alliance, share their actionable and proven best practices for establishing and developing community partnerships to support patients struggling with complex comorbid physical, behavioral, mental and SDOH challenges.

Participants will learn:

  • How to achieve lower costs and higher quality outcomes through real-time updates and community collaboration for patients with high risk
  • How intervention within the emergency department can reduce ED use for behavioral health patients by 76% and increase patient engagement in community behavioral health and substance use disorder programs by 150%
  • The unique challenges facing providers who manage patients with complex physical, behavioral, mental, and social determinants of health needs as we move into a post-pandemic world




Deborah Jean Parsons (2) (1) (1) - Margo Vieceli

Deborah Jean Parsons, PhD

Director of Integrated Care, Aspire Health Alliance



Patel_1565_rev_tint (2)

Brian Patel, MD, FACEP

Chief of Emergency Medicine and Occupational Health Services, Sturdy Memorial Hospital


About the Presenters

Dr. Parsons is an experienced professional in the fields of children’s mental health, social services, and healthcare in Massachusetts—working for over 25 years in program design, operation, and management and serving as a consultant for the Association for Behavioral Healthcare and adjunct faculty at Quincy College, Lasell College, and the University of Massachusetts at Boston.

She currently leads two Community Partner programs in a Massachusetts Medicaid incentive program, providing high quality care coordination for adults who have complex physical, behavioral health, and social needs and integrating primary care, behavioral health services, and social resources to achieve healthier outcomes and community stability.

Dr. Patel is currently the Chief of Emergency Medicine and Occupational Health Services, Associate Chief Quality Officer, Case Management Physician Advisor, and EMS Medical Director at Sturdy Memorial Hospital. He graduated from the University of Massachusetts Medical School in 2001 and completed his emergency medicine training in 2005.

He has worked as an emergency medicine physician at Sturdy Memorial since 2005, focusing on helping vulnerable patient populations such as those with behavioral health diagnoses, substance use disorder, and social determinants of health.