Opportunities for Behavioral Health Agencies to Take Advantage of Health Reform

by Rebecca Farley on August 31, 2011

A new report from George Washington University outlines how state mental health and substance use agencies can take advantage of new opportunities under the Affordable Care Act. “State Behavioral Health Agencies and the Affordable Care Act” explains the role that states have in implementing the provisions of health reform.

It also describes in detail the potential opportunities for state behavioral health agencies to participate in state development of health insurance exchanges, work with state Medicaid officials to enhance the state’s Medicaid expansion, support enrollment in Medicaid and the Exchange, seek additional funding for innovative behavioral health programs through demonstration projects and integrated service delivery models, develop the behavioral health workforce, implement quality improvement initiatives, and support mental health and addictions prevention. 

From the report:

While it may not be feasible to act upon every opportunity, State Behavioral Health Authorities should consider a targeted, multifaceted approach, focusing on the most valuable opportunities to:

  • Participate in state Exchange development to ensure that the needs of behavioral health consumers are appropriately represented;
  • Provide guidance to state Medicaid officials to enhance Medicaid expansion and expand Medicaid benefits for enrollees with behavioral health needs;
  • Help their state design outreach and enrollment activities to ensure that individuals with MH/SUD are appropriately targeted, enrolled, and engaged in Medicaid and the state Exchange;
  • Pursue federal funding for innovative behavioral health programs through demonstrations and integrated care delivery models;
  • Implement ACA workforce provisions to educate and train the behavioral health workforce;
  • Develop a comprehensive quality strategy for their state that includes metrics to assess the quality of behavioral health services; and
  • Support prevention of mental health and substance use disorders. Click here to keep reading.

This report is a useful resource for behavioral health organizations and state associations looking prepare for – or to get more involved in – health reform implementation efforts in their states.

 

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Malcolm L. castaneda September 7, 2011 at 3:24 pm

The real question is; will states (like CO) that have instituted Behavioral Health Organizations that receive funding thru a Medicaid capitated model per covered lives , survive the ACA? As BHO’s are curently stand-alone providers of mental health and SUD treatment (what the paper calls ECP), it stands to reason that funding will flow to the larger healthcare plans or Accountable Care Organizations and the ECP”s would be network members or subconrtactors. That seems to be the logical progression since the ultimate goal is to increase coverage while capping the cost of Medicaid.

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