Access alone does not ensure that Maine people receive the highest quality health care services and the community supports that are often required to preserve or improve health.
Maine has many high-quality hospitals and care providers, but people have told us that our health care system lacks organization, is difficult to navigate and hard to understand, and often fails to coordinate care with community support services. The current care delivery system often fails to meet the needs of people in ways that provide the range of supports that they need to regain or preserve health.
To promote Better Care, MeHAF supports several initiatives aimed at making care more holistic, patient-centered, coordinated and community-based, particularly for those who have chronic physical and behavioral health conditions that put them at higher risk for in-patient or long term care services.
Maine, like many other states, is in the midst of an addiction epidemic fueled by the use and overprescribing of prescription opioids. The epidemic has sparked a multitude of community responses and legislative actions, but a common and recurring theme is the need for more local and affordable treatment options for people with a substance use disorder. Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) for substance use disorders has proven to be clinically effective, cost effective, and to significantly reduce the use of inpatient and detoxification services. Launched in 2017, our Expanding Patient-Centered Addiction Care initiative seeks to create new or expanded capacity to provide MAT, emphasizing people who are uninsured or medically underserved. LEARN MORE
Thriving in Place
Many people in Maine, including older people, with chronic physical or behavioral health issues that put them at risk for hospital or institutional long-term care need more than just access to high quality health care services. People also need local assistance and community supports to successfully manage their health conditions in the places where they live, work and play. Lauched in 2013, our Thriving in Place initiative brings health care providers, social and community services, as well as family and volunteer networks together to meet this need. LEARN MORE
Our traditional health system has found it challenging to provide seamless, coordinated care, particularly when patients have behavioral health issues that impact overall health. Since 2006, we have worked to advance a more holistic approach to patient-centered care by promoting the integration and coordination of primary care with behavioral health care services. This ten-year state-wide initiative has helped drive significant changes in care delivery. Our current work focuses on supporting the development of new Behavioral Health Homes in collaboration with Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services. LEARN MORE
Few will argue that the way that we pay for health care must change. Paying doctors and hospitals for one visit at a time or each procedure is one reason why the cost of health care has risen so dramatically. The challenges are that the health care system was built in response to the way care is paid for, and patients and their families have little say in what health care is delivered to them and little knowledge of how much it will cost. From 2010 to 2014, MeHAF has worked with innovators around the state that have engaged patients and families, changed the system, and prepared for new payment approaches. LEARN MORE
Health Information Technology
As a strategy to reduce costs and to improve care coordination, MeHAF was an early supporter of the establishment of HealthInfoNet, Maine’s statewide health records exchange.This allows health care professionals to share information to improve patient health, even when the patient is away from home. It also reduces repeating health tests and helps to reconcile medications prescribed. Currently, HealthInfoNet has contracts with all Maine hospitals and many primary care and behavioral health providers. It is expanding to include long-term health records and to help health care systems analyze and use data to help with population health efforts.