Healthcare groups name regional centers for five-year mental health initiative

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A national coalition to improve mental health in the U.S. has named eight regional centers to boost its five-year plan to address workplace well-being and substance abuse care for Americans.

The national steering committee for The Path Forward for Mental Health and Substance Use — including the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions, American Psychiatric Association (APA), American Psychiatric Association Foundation (APAF), Center for Workplace Mental Health and Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute — picked eight locations across the nation to carry out the initiative, which was first reported by Employee Benefit News last month.

The five-year mental health initiative launched as a private sector approach to improve mental health and substance abuse care for Americans across the nation. As a key part of the initiative, the regional groups, known as the Regional Employer Stakeholder Engagement Team, or RESET regions, will leverage the influence of business coalitions, and their employer and other purchaser members, to work with health plans and systems, medical and behavioral health providers, consultants and brokers to combat the public health crisis.

See also: National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions launches five-year plan on mental health

The RESET regions and coalitions leading these efforts are:

  • California — Pacific Business Group on Health and Silicon Valley Employers Forum
  • Florida — Florida Alliance for Healthcare Value
  • Kansas — Kansas Business Group on Health
  • Maryland, District of Columbia and Northern Virginia — MidAtlantic Business Group on Health
  • Minnesota — Minnesota Health Action Group
  • New York City metro area including northern New Jersey and southern Connecticut — Northeast Business Group on Health
  • Tennessee — Memphis Business Group on Health and HealthCare 21 Business Coalition
  • Texas — Dallas Fort Worth Business Group on Health and Houston Business Coalition on Health

“The mental health and substance use system across the country is in crisis,” said Michael Thompson, National Alliance president and CEO. “The activities of the RESET regions will be key to achieving and leveraging sustainable and measurable improvements to access, comprehensive care and parity. These employers are the primary financiers of the system and they will both set the tone and hold the stakeholders accountable for accomplishing these goals.”

A report published last month by Milliman, a global actuarial and consulting firm, found that the current state of mental health and substance use treatment in America is getting worse. Results showed that patients were much more likely to resort to “out-of-network” providers for behavioral health treatment than for other conditions.

To overcome these issues, the national committee has identified five priorities to transform behavioral healthcare and improve access to necessary early detection and appropriate treatment. These best practices include:

  • improving access to “in-network” behavioral health specialists
  • expanding use of the collaborative care model to integrate behavioral health into primary care
  • implementing measurement-based care in both primary care and behavioral specialty care to improve quality and outcomes
  • expanding tele-behavioral health, and
  • ensuring mental health parity compliance.

“This isn’t simply about greater access to care for mental health and substance use disorders; it’s about treating these medical conditions with the same urgency and care as other serious disorders, such as heart disease and diabetes; employing data-driven screening, measurement-based care, and cost-effective treatment,” Andy Keller, president and CEO of the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute, said in a statement. “We know how to provide effective medical care, and we are going to now make that the norm for mental health care.”

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