All-Alliance meeting highlights behavioral health care gaps and opportunities
The Washington Health Alliance’s All-Alliance meeting on June 20 brought together representatives from leading health care purchasers, providers, and plans from across the state for informative and thought-provoking presentations and discussion. Members heard about upcoming reports from the Alliance, got an overview of the Practice Transformation Hub from Selena Bolotin of Qualis Health, and learned about advancing measurement-based behavioral health care from Dr. Michael L. Schoenbaum of the National Institute of Mental Health. A summary of the meeting is below, and the complete slide deck and a recording of the meeting are available to Alliance members.
We are grateful for the support of our members and their continued participation in the Alliance. It is their support that makes our work possible and helps us continue to improve the health system in Washington state. If you are interested in attending future All Alliance meetings, please contact us about joining the Alliance.
The Alliance’s Executive Director, Nancy Giunto, provided a preview of upcoming Alliance reports, including an all-new report on Hospital Value to be released next month. She also celebrated the announcement that the Alliance will be reporting on pricing – a critical step in promoting transparency and moving the market to value. Giunto gave an overview of three products the Alliance Board of Directors has already approved for initial pricing reports.
Practice Transformation Hub improving health delivery system
Selena Bolotin, Practice Transformation Director for Qualis Health, spoke about the Practice Transformation Support Hub and how it can help with successful practice transformation. The Hub is a collaborative effort between Qualis Health, the Washington State Department of Health, and Healthier Washington, and it helps providers integrate physical and behavioral health, move from volume-based to value-based care, and improve population health. Bolotin detailed the training and tools that are available to effectively coordinate care, promote clinical-community linkages, and help provider organizations transition to value-based payment models.
Behavioral health: Advancing integrated and measurement-based care
The keynote was provided by Dr. Michael L. Schoenbaum, Senior Advisor for Mental Health Services, Epidemiology, and Economics at the National Institute of Mental Health. Dr. Schoenbaum shared key points about behavioral health, including that mental illness and substance use are major drivers of disability and costs, and that while effective solutions exist, stakeholders need to incentivize them. He shared the troubling statistic that more than 1 in 4 Americans struggle with a mental health or substance use problem at some point in their lives.
Dr. Schoenbaum provided additional details on the inadequate treatment of many people with mental disorders and outlined a roadmap for closing the gap in care. He stressed the importance of measurement-based care, noting that we cannot improve what we don’t measure. There are positive steps that can be taken, however, and Dr. Schoenbaum provided advice to purchasers on how to better build effective behavioral health care into their plans: “If you decide this should be the standard of care for the population you are responsible for, and you go to your vendor and say this is what I expect, they will figure out how to do this.”
The Alliance would like to extend its thanks to our guest speakers for sharing their time and expertise. We hope the discussion inspired members to keep working for positive change within their own organizations.