How the Recent Opioid Legislation Impacts Community-Based Providers

Today President Trump signed into law legislation intended to help stem the opioid crisis. The SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act provides additional funding to combat addiction, improve access to treatment and authorizes a pilot financing program to incentivize providers to invest in technology to better coordinate care. We’ve all seen the stats when it comes to the opioid crisis: More than 72,000 people died in the U.S. in 2017 from an opioid overdose. The Centers for Disease Control and…

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How Stigma Stunts Mental Health Care

Last week featured multiple worthy mental health causes: Mental Illness Awareness Week, World Mental Health Day and National Depression Screening Day. It was fantastic to see all the social media campaigns and support circulating to increase awareness and access to resources. While these initiatives are great short-term catalysts, we need to find a way to encourage individuals to extend discussion surrounding mental health year-round. The greatest barrier to achieving this is stigma. Stigma is a societal problem we must face…

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Congress Passes Major Opioid Bill: Includes Health IT Financial Incentives for Behavioral Health and Substance Use Treatment Providers

Behavioral health organizations, including community mental health centers, psychiatric hospitals, addiction treatment and other key providers consistently lag behind acute care in the adoption of technology. Despite an increased demand for services and the fact they serve some of the nation’s most at-risk populations, these providers weren’t fully eligible for federal financial incentives on a par with acute care providers for purchase of electronic health record (EHR) platforms, key to enhancing care quality and efficiency in all healthcare settings. Significantly,…

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Living With Suicide

By Michele Jarchow When my son, Austin, said he wanted a semi-colon tattoo on his wrist, I said two things: 1) You have to be able to cover it up. Some of your clients are very conservative and don’t want to see any tattoos; and 2) If you put it where it’s visible, you have to be willing to talk about it. His response? “That’s the point.” Why a semi-colon? “A semicolon is used when an author could have chosen…

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Finding the Courage to Ask

We hear about suicide’s prevalence, but often don’t discuss it. It’s therefore reasonable for us to have uncertainty and discomfort around confronting the topic. Where this becomes incredibly problematic is when we believe someone is experiencing thoughts of suicide, and we don’t address it. While suicide is an incredibly sensitive topic, not intervening when you have concern is the worst thing you can do. We need to make it a priority to become more comfortable openly discussing suicide. Sometimes engaging…

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Opioid Addiction: What It Is, Isn’t and Our Impact

It’s difficult to acknowledge that when we mention the word “opioid” it possesses an unnerving connotation. What once was considered the best and safest way to eliminate pain and discomfort has morphed into a nationwide addiction epidemic. Let’s look at the facts: Since 2008, opioid overdoses have been the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S. Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the S., soaring from 64,070 deaths in 2016 to more than 72,000 in…

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The Suicide Warning Signs You Need to Address

Annually, millions of Americans report experiencing serious thoughts of suicide. Suicidal thoughts can affect anyone regardless of age, gender or background. By increasing awareness, we can begin to control its expanding presence and devastating effects. The only way we can help those in need is by recognizing their struggle. Research shows most individuals contemplating suicide give some indication of their intent. Your ability to recognize someone’s struggle could help save a life. Awareness is the first step to prevention, and we…

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A Person-Centered Approach for Success in Intellectual and Developmental Disability Services – Part II

In a recent CareThreads post, we began exploring principal factors to consider when providing the best care for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). Like all of healthcare, it’s important to keep the unique needs and desires of an individual central to meet desired outcomes through coordinated care efforts. What else should be addressed for person-centered care? Let’s explore. Comprehensive Assessment and Planning Person-centered care requires the ability to plan and provide the right type of services that can…

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A Person-Centered Approach for Success in Intellectual and Developmental Disability Services – Part I

It’s no secret that limited resources and funding have historically been a challenge for providers of Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) services. That’s why it’s important for healthcare providers to break down information silos and work collaboratively to achieve the best outcomes possible. With the introduction of value-based care payment models, it will be even more important for providers to find effective and efficient ways to manage resources across the healthcare continuum to deliver the right care for every individual’s…

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Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) Requirements on the Horizon

A lesser-known component of the 21st Century Cures Act is the electronic visit verification (EVV) requirement that goes into effect January 1, 2020, for personal care services (PCS), and January 1, 2023, for home health care services (HHCS). So, what is EVV and how can your organization prepare to comply with this requirement? One of the greatest impacts will be to PCS providers who offer opportunities to Medicaid beneficiaries to receive services such as activities of daily living (ADL) in…

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