As many as eight states are signed up for an HHS initiative intended to integrate behavioral health services within the primary-care setting. The goal is to provide greater and faster access to care for those suffering from mental illness or substance use disorders.
Among the states selected to participate in the two-year demonstration are Oklahoma, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Missouri and Minnesota.
The program will focus on Medicaid beneficiaries with serious mental illness, troubled children and patients with long-term drug use disorders.
“These states and their community clinics have done an incredible job in paving the way for the demonstration program,” Deputy Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use Kana Enomoto said in a statement. “We look forward to demonstrating that by balancing incentives and accountability, an enhanced level of accessible, comprehensive and quality care can be provided to all Americans.”
Clinics that qualify for the demonstration will be evaluated on 21 quality measures that gauge their ability to coordinate care with primary-care providers and community hospitals, use evidence-based practices and implement health information technology.
States will have until July 1 to begin their demonstration, with HHS expected to report on the performance of the programs annually beginning next December.
Integrating behavioral health services within primary-care settings has been a growing trend among hospitals in recent years as they face growing demand and a stagnant number of professionals available to provide care.