From The Advisory Board Company:

 


Where the States Stand

Via: The Advisory Board Company

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Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., joins Morning Joe to discuss the Excellence in Mental Health Act, a bipartisan bill aimed at expanding access to mental health and addiction treatment.

 

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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From the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology:

How do electronic health records (EHRs) connect you and your doctor? In the past, medical data was only stored on paper, making it difficult for your health care providers to share your information. Between 2001 and 2011, the number of doctors using an EHRsystem grew about 57%, making it easier for you and all of your doctors to coordinate your care, and often reducing the chance of medical errors. Where are electronic health records headed? In this Infographic, view the history of electronic health records and see how they may improve your health and health care in the future.

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From Health Affairs:

A new Health Policy Brief from Health Affairs and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation discusses per capita caps, a proposed reform to Medicaid that would limit the amount of federal spending per beneficiary. The proposal’s supporters contend that it could help control the growth of federal spending on Medicaid. Critics disagree, saying that instead of slowing the rate of spending growth, it would only shift the costs to the state, ultimately limiting poor Americans’ access to care.

Topics covered in this brief include:

  • What’s the proposal? This program would link spending growth to enrollment and not rising per beneficiary spending as is the case now. Medicaid currently covers 60 million Americans and accounts for roughly 8 percent of the US federal budget, not counting state contributions. Per capita caps are generally considered a middle ground between Medicaid’s current approach and other proposals that would use block grants to fund the program.
  • What’s the debate? Although people believe the per capita cap approach would incentivize states to be efficient, others question whether a per capita cap would truly save the federal government money. Much of the growth in Medicaid spending over the past decade has been due to increases in enrollment. Also, spending per enrollee has grown at a slower pace than total Medicaid spending. The brief highlights major criticisms of this proposal.
  • What’s next? Whether a Medicaid per capita cap will emerge as part of entitlement reform efforts is unclear. Caps were floated during the recent fiscal cliff budget negotiations, but no specific proposal was offered by either Congress or the White House.

Read the Health Policy Brief here.

 

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On April 10, Dr. Howard Goldman, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, wrote a column for Health Affairs Blog describing recent misleading reports that the 2008 mental health and addiction parity law has led to increased utilization of services. Dr. Goldman writes:

The Mental Health Parity and Addictions Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA) prohibits group health plans that cover mental health and substance abuse treatment from imposing higher cost-sharing requirements for these benefits, as compared to cost-sharing requirements for other conditions. Rigorous studies from Oregon and the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program have not found that similar parity requirements resulted in increased costs.A recent report from the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) has been widely interpreted as suggesting that the MHPAEA and an interim final rule (IFR) implementing the statute caused an increase in hospital inpatient admissions for psychiatric conditions. However, the report does not support this interpretation.The HCCI released its report on trends in inpatient psychiatric admissions as if it evaluated the impact of the MHPAEA. But the report simply juxtaposes a longstanding trend of increasing hospitalization for psychiatric conditions between 2007 and 2011 with the observation that the MHPAEA and its Interim Final Rule (IFR) were implemented at the end of 2010 and in 2011. This tells us nothing useful about the impact of the MHPAEA… Keep Reading.

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Healthcare Reform ExpertsHealthcare reform is creating a tremendous amount of disruption in nearly all aspects of healthcare. For many people and organizations, the chaos is masking innovations that are fundamentally changing their spheres and providing competitive advantages for handfuls of leading edge organizations. How do behavioral health organizations use this time of chaos to not only survive but thrive?

My hypothesis is that a key to the future is being seen as a Behavioral Health Center of Excellence (BH-COE). What is a BH-COE? We don’t know yet. It hasn’t been defined. To address this, the National Council is beginning a yearlong project to develop a definition and work with centers across the country to field test that definition.

BH-COE = Two Things: At the end of the day we think that a BH-COE will be a combination of two things. 1) Successfully implementing a philosophy of excellence throughout the organization that percolates into the community. 2) Achieving outstanding performance in a number of areas that is publically recognized, measured, and reported.

The philosophy of excellence will be customized by each organization to illustrate and imbue a common theme of: “This is a great place to work and a great place to get care.”

We have developed a first draft definition and will be facilitating a national dialogue to identify the “vital few” elements of a BH-COE.

BH-COE Definition:

A Behavioral Health Center of Excellence (BH-COE) is an organization or program within an organization that excels at addressing the whole health of one or more identified populations and is viewed by the community as a preferred place of care. This preference comes from providing comprehensive, whole person care that supports resiliency and recovery, provides good value, and yields excellent outcomes and high client satisfaction.

Intrigued? Stay tuned for further thoughts on how ensure your organization seizes the opportunity to be a Behavioral Health Center of Excellence.

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In an article published this week on TheAtlantic.com, Judith Graham writes about the significant hurdles that are preventing the 2008 Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity law from being fully implemented. Ms. Graham writes:

In October 2008, Congress passed legislation designed to end longstanding insurance practices that discriminated against people with mental illness and drug and alcohol addictions. It was a landmark achievement, won after a dozen years of sustained advocacy by mental health advocates. Yet implementation of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 has been hobbled by a lack of clear guidance from the government, and final rules governing the statute have yet to be published.

The result is significant confusion over insurance companies’ and employers’ responsibilities under the law, which currently applies to 140 million Americans who receive health insurance from organizations with more than 50 employees. In too many cases, advocates claim, consumers still face barriers to getting recommended mental health and substance abuse services.

Continue reading.

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You’re been reading the news.

Now be part of it.

Join us at Hill Day 2013 to advocate for the most pressing behavioral health policies of the day! With Congress engaged in a rare spate of discussions on behavioral health, now is your chance to be a part of it. Click to learn more and register.

Hill Day 2013: September 16-17

www.thenationalcouncil.org/hillday

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Washington Post Calls on Congress to Address Mental Health, Praises Excellence in Mental Health Act

The Washington Post editorial board this week released an editorial calling on Congress to improve the nation’s mental health system. The editorial addresses the stigma [...]

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Report: 62 Million Americans Will Have Access to Expanded Behavioral Health Benefits under ACA and Parity

A report issued this week by the Department of Health and Human Services estimated that 62 million Americans will gain expanded coverage of mental health [...]

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