Meet Mohammad Nasser, MD, of Leading MDs, who talks about providing primary and behavioral health care.
From Print Issue - Fall 2022
Q: Why do you believe treatment must encompass the mind and body?
Behavioral health and mental are usually used interchangeably but are quite different. Behavioral health is a broader term describing our daily cognitive habits that impact our physical well-being. Great behavior health activities can help achieve a supreme mental equilibrium such as exercising and consuming a healthy diet. Mental health is how we convey our feelings and emotional wellbeing. It determines how we handle stressful situations, relationships and make healthy choices. Common mental illnesses are depression and anxiety. Now we can observe how the body and the mind are connected and treating both may be central to our patients’ overall health.
Q: Did Leading MDs launch by combining behavioral health with primary care or did you add behavioral health later in response to requests from patients?
We initiated with primary care, but we thought to achieve optimal results, integrating psychiatry was the needed piece to the puzzle. Our collaborative care model is not only cost effective but improves outcomes as most of our aging population suffer from at least one chronic condition.
Q: Does your team treat both primary care and behavioral health at the same time or do you typically see patients for one or the other and then approach patients about the missing component?
We start with a comprehensive assessment that includes a mental health screening. Thus, we ensure we are not missing any mental health disorders that can go untreated for some time. A proper referral and treatment plan will take place based on patient’s disease process.
"Now we can observe how the body and mind are connected and treating both may be central to our patients' overall health."
Q: Do you have physicians or practitioners providing the behavioral health care?
We currently have doctoral and masters level nurse practitioners providing behavioral health services. We also have a growing psychotherapy program overseen by a PsyD-level licensed professional counselor.
Q: Which mental health disorders or conditions do you treat most often?
We primarily treat anxiety and depressive disorders most often. We helped many COVID-19 patients with such disorders with great success. Our providers have excellent experience in treating the spectrum of psychiatric disorders including psychosis, bipolar, anxiety, and depression.
Q: Telehealth usage is rising. Do patients prefer telehealth or in person for behavioral health checkups? Why?
Though many patients come into our office for a face-to-face appointment, tele visits are growing fast. The pandemic has accelerated the shift towards remote visits. As many patients are either juggling a busy schedule, have a disability, live far or lack transportation, telepsychiatry became a great option to facilitate care especially during the pandemic. We learned quickly that it is as effective, time efficient and promotes adherence to therapy. We also offer psychotherapy remotely. We learned that patient retention has increased with
our telehealth programs.