Behavioral health initiatives score $100M to improve access
Providence St. Joseph Health's behavioral health foundation on Wednesday unveiled the first three recipients of grants from its $100 million fund to improve mental health treatment access and outcomes.
Providence's Well Being Trust will work with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Trust for America's Health and California Mental Health and Wellness Initiative in their efforts to develop evidence-based recommentations to improve access to mental health services in hospital and community settings.
Providence launched Well Being Trust last year with an initial $100 million endowment, with an additional $30 million specifially allocated for work in California, according to Dr. Rod Hochman, president and CEO of Providence St. Joseph Health.
Hochman said the trust's work is unique because it focuses on community partnerships with schools, fire departments and other organizations in order to better integrate care.
"Our hope is that other large health systems will join us in this effort," Hochman said.
EDs and primary care clinics have struggled to meet the needs of a growing volume of patients with mental health and substance abuse issues. Hospital emergency departments have seen those cases rise by 55% over the past decade, from 4.4 million visits in 2002 to 6.8 million in 2011, according to a 2016 Health Affairs study.
The nation's current opioid abuse epidemic has further driven an increase in hospitalizations, with the number of opioid-related ED visits increasing by 99% between 2005 and 2014, according to an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality report released last December.
But many cannot access treatment. Among the estimated 44 million adults living with mental illness in the U.S., nearly 60% did not receive treatment in the past 12 months, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
The trust will work with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement on a two-year initiative to develop evidence-based practices to better integrate behavioral health into emergency departments that will allow patients with mental health disorders and substance issues to receive quicker access to such services.
The institute and trust will research how healthcare providers across the country address patients' mental health needs in the ED and work with eight to ten providers to test out strategies, said Mara Laderman, director of Innovation at IHI.
Laderman said the initiative will also work with community partners to prevent mental health crises that would cause an individual to visit the ED.
Well Being Trust has also awarded the California Mental Health and Wellness Initiative $30 million to conduct a similar, three-year initiative to integrate behavioral healthcare between clinics and the community.
The trust's final project is a collaboration with Trust for America's Health to develop policy recommendations and advocacy strategies for states that are focused on various mental health-related issues, such as including substance abuse and suicide.
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