A Netsmart Blog

Lost on the Way to the Moon

        Earlier this week I sat in on a Web broadcast announcing the launch of the Kennedy Center for Mental Health Policy and Research. The lead presenters were former Congressman Patrick Kennedy and Dr. David Satcher, former Surgeon General of the United States. Both men are longtime advocates of mental health reform. The broadcast was interesting, inspiring and spot-on regarding many issues. But I wanted something more.

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Re-thinking Consumer Engagement through the Use of Rewards

Gas stations, hotels, grocery and electronic stores.  They all have this in common: They’ve long been offering rewards and using incentive systems aimed at influencing customer behavior and increasing loyalty. Behavioral healthcare, to this point, hasn’t gotten on board, but there’s no reason to wait any longer. It’s time to steal a page from their playbooks.

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Time to Transition to Better Transitions of Care

Some $25 billion to $45 billion per year is lost on poor transitions of care, meaning a failure of the healthcare system to properly transfer a client from the care of one clinician in a certain setting to the care of another clinician in another setting. There are many reasons for this, but it most often happens due to lack of information sharing. In the behavioral health community, where as many as 68 percent of adults with mental health conditions…

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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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