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Better Care

Health care delivery needs to be more patient-centered and include attention to providing behavioral health services as a key element to optimizing health (related blog post).

In 2006, MeHAF launched a $14 million, 12-year Integrated Care Initiative, which included awarding 43 grants to help 150 collaborative partners integrate behavioral health and primary care services in over 90 sites across the state.  Integrated care was adopted in school clinics, primary care practices, nursing homes, mental health organizations and many other sites.  Integrated care has also been adopted as a core element of the state-wide Patient Centered Medical Home and Health Homes, Behavioral Health Homes, and the Medicaid State Innovation Model initiatives.  Almost half of Maine’s primary care practices use some level of integrated care, so their patients are more likely to be screened for mental health conditions and introduced to on-site behavioral health professionals, if needed.  Similarly, people with serious and persistent mental illness are now being linked to primary care practices through their community mental health center.

MeHAF’s work on Integrated Care has advanced a variety of strategies, including:

  • Grants:  Forty-three integrated care competitive grants supported the adoption of integrated care in a variety of clinical settings.  MeHAF also provided grant support to Quality Counts and the Maine Primary Care Association to expand integrated care into patient-centered medical home practices and community health centers. Five Behavioral Health Home grants have also been awarded. Note that competitive grant funding for integrated care is no longer available.
  • Technical assistance and grantee support:  Integrated Care grantees participated in quarterly learning community meetings where MeHAF brought in national and international leaders in integrated care to advance the field and assist grantees in their work.  Resources, such as the Integrated Care site self-assessment tool, have been promoted by AHRQ and adopted by other organizations to assess their progress in integrating services.  To assist with reimbursement or regulatory issues, MeHAF contracted with a local expert, Mary Jean Mork, to help organizations identify funding and reimbursement strategies.
  • Sharing what we’re learning:  MeHAF has generated numerous reports, case studies, news items, blogs, and video clips to share information. Use the key word search to find items related to “integrated care.”
  • Promoting policy development:  To complement the grantees' work, MeHAF convened a Policy Committee to identify and address barriers to integrated care adoption.  Integrated Care has been advanced by many partners such as the Maine Health Management Coalition, Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Maine Quality Counts, and others.
  • Evaluating our work

 

Integrated Care Training Academy

To promote the expansion and successful adoption of integrated care, MeHAF selected six awardees to serve as mentors and technical advisors in Maine’s Integrated Care Training Academy. Through the Academy, successful early adopters of integrated care share their expertise and experience with other sites needing assistance to adopt integrated care. Coaching specialties include assessing and improving patient and family engagement; an electronic Health Screen Toolkit; business cases for sustaining integrated care, and a Toolkit for contracting for behavioral health staff in primary care.

For more information, contact President & CEO Barbara Leonard.

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