Human Services

A Deadly Addiction that Requires an Integrated Solution

Opiate addiction has been declared a public health crisis in many states. Nationwide, more than 100 people die from opiate-related overdoses each day. Some jurisdictions are even equipping emergency service providers with a drug called Narcan, which counteracts the life-threatening effects of an opiate overdose. But more needs to be done.

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Five Frequently Asked Questions About ICD-10

On Oct. 1, 2015, the healthcare diagnostic process will undergo a fundamental shift. Starting that day, the ICD-9 (International Classification of Diseases, 9th Edition) code sets used to report medical diagnoses and inpatient procedures will be replaced by the ICD-10 code set.  Any organizations who fail to comply will be unable to bill for any services provided after that date, which could severely impact their cash flow and their ability to deliver care to the country’s most vulnerable populations. Five…

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The Other Half of the Story: ACOs Must Bring Behavioral Health Providers into the Clinical Mix

Accountable Care Organizations, which used to be the wave of the future, are the here and now. As groups of doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers come together to coordinate care, it is essential they include behavioral health providers in the mix. According to a recent National Comorbidity Survey, 17 percent of the adult population had comorbid mental and medical conditions within a 12-month period. Patients with comorbidities require a comprehensive treatment plan to truly bend the cost curve.  For…

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Realized: The Promise of Evidence-Based Practice in Behavioral Health

“A systemic approach to analyze published research as the basis of clinical decision making.” That’s how evidence-based medicine was first defined more than two decades ago. And it makes sense doesn’t it? The best treatment philosophies are born of experience – and if we can draw from our collective experience we give ourselves the best chance of improving outcomes. Evidence-based treatment (EBT) in medicine has been embraced for years, but in the behavioral setting we have struggled to implement it…

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Don’t go on the Offensive with Your Body’s Defense

Achoo! As we enter the cold and flu season, take pause. I know it’s annoying to have itchy eyes, a runny nose and a bothersome cough, but I’d like to talk with you about the challenges of overmedicating. Society has broadly sought medication as a silver bullet since the discovery of penicillin and the mass manufacturing of antibiotics. Antibiotics aren’t needed for a benign viral illness yet we continue to prescribe costly medications without clear and obvious justification and in…

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Going Beyond 5 Rights to a Person-Centric Model

Prescription and over-the-counter medications are milestone medical advances that impact how we treat and prevent illness. Medication therapies for individuals with behavioral health conditions have become much more prevalent and accepted in the past 10 years. Nonetheless, it is primary care physicians that prescribe the majority of behavioral health medications; overall, 67 percent of psychopharmacologic drugs are prescribed by primary care physicians (Rural Health Advisory Committee, 2005).

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Substance Use Treatment in a Digital Era: An Open Letter to the Wall Street Journal and Modern Healthcare

The Modern Healthcare article, “Key Privacy Rule Could Fall to Accountable Care Push” (June 17), touches on important privacy issues but misses the full context. The same is true of “Drug Treatment Swept Up in Push for Medical-Records Sharing” printed in the June 4 edition of the Wall Street Journal. Far from becoming a “casualty of the push to accountable care, patient-centered medical homes and other population-oriented health plans”, the proposed rule changes update 1970s-era 42 CFR Part 2 privacy…

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Acting Like A Payer & Provider…It’s Good For Everyone’s Health

There’s been a lot of talk about the care management and coordination approach organizations should take. Traditional health and human services agencies are being asked to manage/coordinate care for clients or patients. It’s important your organization’s partners share your vision. The collective we are responsible for the care of an individual — even when the services are not directly provided by the organization. When coordinating care, the case managers become the care managers.

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Technology That Helps People Have Better Lives Is Very Cool

Healthcare initiatives like care coordination, interoperability, and CDSS all rely on the ability to reliably and quickly share information. To be certain healthcare providers are successful in the future, they must not only provide better care with less, they must also become partners with providers from treatment settings previously considered disparate.  Whether these are providers of mental health, substance use, public health, or primary care services, they must open their minds to parallel treatment paradigms while opening their systems to…

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