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Two local behavioral health agencies are part of a national initiative to get patients faster care, and officials hope the effort improves health care for patients and reduces costs for behavioral health providers.

CODAC Behavioral Health Services and La Frontera in Tucson are two of the more than 50 behavioral health agencies in the nation that are part of a federal initiative to improve the time it takes for a patient to get care.

The initiative pairs the agencies with consultants, with whom they will work to get patients in to see health care providers the same day they call to make an appointment, says CODAC President and CEO Dennis Regnier.

That’s best for patients who have decided they need mental health treatment, he says.

“You just don’t know what kind of efforts it took, or the contemplation and the angst of a person just making that phone call, and so it seems like we should work real hard to make sure that we can respond to that call for help," Regnier says.

Additionally, the initiative should help the agency improve all its services by cutting down on some administrative costs.

The longer a patient has to wait to get an appointment, the higher the no-show rates climb, Regnier says.

The federal program to get behavioral health patients in to see a medical professional on the same day they call is a year-long initiative and Regnier says CODAC will pass along what it learns to other agencies.