Posts Tagged ‘Behavioral Health Services’

Behavioral Health Services for 14 Counties Go Out to Bid

July 15th, 2014

gsa-mapNow that we have a new integrated behavioral health care model in Maricopa County, we’ve set our sights on implementing a similar integrated care model in the rest of the state.  Our Procurement Team issued the Greater Arizona Behavioral Health RFP last week – which sets the course for integrating behavioral health and physical health for folks with a serious mental illness as we select behavioral health authorities in the rest of Arizona.

The Greater Arizona Behavioral Health RFP solicits bids from entities that provide integrated behavioral and physical health for folks with a serious mental illness – much like the Maricopa County contract.  People in the general mental health or substance abuse categories will get behavioral health services from the RBHA and their physical health care from an AHCCCS acute care health plan.

The bid is structured to consolidate several of the current Geographic Service Areas.  When the new contracts go live in October of 2015, we’ll have a total of 3 service zones (North, South, & Maricopa) – rather than the current 6.  We’ve also ensured that tribal land aligns with the service areas.  Of course, tribes wishing to continue as a Tribal Behavioral Health Authority would continue as-is.  The solicitation makes it clear awardees will only be able to hold a contract in 1 service area.  We plan on reviewing the proposals beginning in October and awarding the contracts by the end of the year with an October 1, 2015 start date.

Case Dismissed: Jason K v. Humble

March 28th, 2014

Most of you know that we’ve reached a final agreement with the Plaintiffs in the 32 year-old Arnold vs. Sarn lawsuit.  We expect to have a dismissal hearing later this year- which will officially end the Arnold lawsuit.  We got some other good news on a different behavioral health case last week.

Last Friday marked the end to the 22+ year JK v. Humble lawsuit.  It was a class action lawsuit filed in 1991 by children eligible for or in need of behavioral health services under Medicaid.  We were Defendants in the case along with AHCCCS.  Last week the Plaintiffs asked that the case be dismissed… and the court followed suit by officially dismissing the case right away.  You can learn more about the children’s system of behavioral health services on our website.

Arizona’s First Ever State Health Assessment

February 13th, 2014

Today we published Arizona’s first ever comprehensive State Health Assessment. The objective of the State Health Assessment is to give Arizona’s public health and health care systems a clear tool to help drive future decision-making and resource allocation as we collectively design and implement evidence-based interventions to improve health and wellness outcomes across Arizona.  

The Assessment uses Arizona-specific data to assess the state of the public’s health in Arizona and has been a collaborative effort among all of the health departments in each AZ county as well as the ADHS.  The 15 priority health issues in the Report are obesity, tobacco use, substance abuse, healthcare associated infections, suicides, teen pregnancy, creating healthy communities, behavioral health services, diabetes, heart disease, other chronic diseases (cancer, respiratory disease, asthma), accidents and injuries, oral health, access to well care, and access to health insurance. 

Each public health indicator is summarized for its significance and scope, trending, and comparative analysis against national data.  The report also provides in-depth analysis for a number of indicators in each of Arizona’s 126 Community Health Analysis Areas. 

Please take time to look at the State Health Assessment and the county level community health assessments.  After you’re done, we’d appreciate hearing from you through the survey monkey as we take the next giant step to create Arizona’s first State Health Improvement Plan.

Coming Attraction: AZ’s 1st State Health Assessment

August 23rd, 2013

Publication of Arizona’s very first State Health Assessment is just around the corner  The 2013 Arizona State Health Assessment will use AZ quantitative and qualitative data to assess the public health status of the state.  The end product will be a comprehensive summary of the 15 leading health issues that have the greatest impact in Arizona. 

Over 10,000 community members participated across the state in helping provide valuable input.  Our county health departments did the heavy lifting and engaged the public and their local partners to develop county level community health assessments. Primary data was collected through local community participation in surveys, focus groups and strategy meetings to establish local priorities and really capture the community’s concerns.  Secondary data from public data banks such as hospital discharge data, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, and the disease registries was also part of the analysis. 

The State Health Assessment uses a combination of the Community Health Status Indicator Project and the Healthy People 2020 Mobilize, Assess, Plan, Implement, Track Models. The 15 leading health issues identified in the Assessment were compiled from county and state priority rankings. Each indicator is summarized for its significance and scope, trending over the past few years, and comparative analysis against national data.  

The 15 priority health issues that’ll be identified in the Report are (in no particular order): obesity, tobacco use, substance abuse, healthcare associated infections, suicides, teen pregnancy, creating healthy communities, behavioral health services, diabetes, heart disease, other chronic diseases (cancer, respiratory disease, asthma), accidents and injuries, oral health, access to well care, and access to health insurance. 

The State Health Assessment will provide the starting point for our first ever State Health Improvement Plan in 2014… which will outline actionable and specific strategies, tactics and interventions for improving population health.  The Improvement Plan will provide a roadmap for Arizona policy makers at the state, county and local level as well as our partners in the private sector to take serious concrete steps to improve population health outcomes while reducing health care costs in AZ.

Behavioral Health Annual Report

January 10th, 2013

Our Behavioral Health Services team just finished and published our FY 12 Annual Report.  The new report identifies the number of clients served by service area, funding category and program; and includes programmatic financial reports of revenues, expenditures and administrative costs.  In it, you’ll see that we received a total of about $1.46B in funding for FY 2012 for behavioral health services.  Our Agency administrative costs were about 1% of the total (about $18M). 

The report shows our revenues and expenditures (including specific identification of administrative costs) for each behavioral health program category (The Seriously Mentally Ill; Alcohol and Drug Abuse; Severely Emotionally Handicapped Children; Domestic Violence; and the Arizona State Hospital).


Another Acronym?

December 6th, 2012

This is one to remember.  SBIRT is an acronym for a behavioral health intervention that stands for “Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment”.   The technical definition is “ … a comprehensive, integrated, public health approach to the delivery of early intervention and treatment services for persons with substance use disorders…”  A more metaphorical (is that a word?) way to put it is that it catches patients at the top of the waterfall rather than at the bottom.  It’s an evidence-based intervention that’s proven effective at primary care centers, hospital emergency rooms, trauma centers, and other community settings. 

AZ was awarded a $7.5M federal grant to implement SBIRT in primary care offices and emergency rooms… helping primary care providers to identify patients at risk for or who have substance abuse problems that might otherwise go unnoticed a& untreated.  The grant will help reduce the number of substance use related deaths and the prevalence of substance abuse disorders in the five northern Arizona counties: Apache, Coconino, Mohave, Navajo, and Yavapai. 

We picked these counties because the rates of injuries and deaths due to alcohol and other drugs are the highest in that part of the state.  Medical providers at several community health centers and one emergency department will be trained to use the SBIRT screening tool to identify those at risk and conduct brief interventions.  Integration of behavioral health services into primary care centers and the hospital emergency rooms provides opportunities for early intervention with at-risk substance users before more severe consequences occur.  As always- we’re making it a priority to measure our results.

Introducing… the 2012 ADHS Food Drive

October 29th, 2012

Division representatives after last year's food drive.

Helping fight hunger in our state is a worthy investment of anyone’s time.  One in four children struggle with hunger in our state according the Arizona Association of Food Banks.  To do their part…  food banks in our state supply more than 11 million pounds of food every month.  But the food banks rely on donations and with so many people struggling to put food on their own table, it can be hard to drum up donations.  That’s one of the reasons we’re holding our 2nd annual food drive.

During last year’s pre-Thanksgiving food drive Team ADHS collected more than 7,000 pounds of food to the St. Mary’s Food Bank  in Phoenix…  and we sent a cash donation to the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona and Yuma Community Food Bank.  We’re kicking off this year’s annual food drive at our costume contest during lunchtime on Halloween.  We’re asking everyone who competes to bring a can of food as an “entry fee”.  Then we’ll collect food for about 3 weeks – this year our goal is 2 tons.

We’re going to have a little competition again, because people seem to like it.  So there will be six divisions competing – Public Health Prevention, The Arizona State Hospital, Licensing, Behavioral Health Services , Operations and Public Health Preparedness.

AZ’s Future Essential Health Benefit Package

October 12th, 2012

The future health insurance exchange plans (as well as most other commercially available plans) will need to offer a standardized (state-specific) Essential Benefit Package once the Affordable Care Act kicks in on 1/1/14.  There are 10 key service categories that future plans will need to cover- including behavioral health services.

States were responsible for picking a plan from a set of existing options to serve as their state’s “benchmark” plan by last week.  Arizona picked the State Employee EPO plan as the benchmark plan that most insurance plans will need to cover (at a minimum) on and off the exchange.  Future exchange health plans (as well as most other commercially available plans) will need to be “substantially equal” to the state employee benchmark plan in the scope, limitations and exclusions (e.g. visit limits).   I think the plan is a good choice because it has a robust behavioral health component with fewer limitations, restrictions and exclusions than most other options- and already covers behavioral health services at parity (meaning behavioral health has the same level of coverage as physical health).

Obviously there’s a lot more to it than that… and folks can get a lot more in-depth info about what an Essential Health Benefit is and what it means in this document– which provides an Arizona specific analysis of the issues and the various services that’ll be covered under the future benchmark plan.


Integrating Physical & Behavioral Health Services to Save Lives

October 11th, 2012

We all need to take care of both our physical and behavioral health needs in order to be healthy. The mind and body aren’t separated- and neither should the health-care delivery system- especially for folks with a serious mental illness. Folks with a serious mental illness die more than 25 years earlier than the general population… an unacceptable health disparity in anybody’s book. The increased mortality is largely from treatable medical conditions caused by modifiable risk factors like smoking, obesity, substance abuse, and not accessing primary and acute medical care. 

We recognized the need to address this unacceptable health disparity when we put together our Strategic Map and Plan. It’s been a long haul and a lot of work- and we passed a major milestone this week when we released our Request For Proposal (otherwise known as RFP) for the delivery of behavioral health services in Maricopa County. The entity that ends up getting the contract will be responsible for delivering both preventative, acute and primary care along with Recovery-based behavioral health services for folks in the public behavioral health system in Maricopa County. The new contract is scheduled to start on 10/1/13. 

It’s difficult to put into words how much work has gone into this solicitation. I know that many of you put this work on top of all your normal work, had put off other projects, and sacrificed some of your home-life for this product- and I just really want you to know that I appreciate it. It’s going to save lives. You can check out the full solicitation on the State’s Procurement website hub- called ProcureAZ.

What’s Happening in Behavioral Health

September 26th, 2012

The Acting Deputy Director of Behavioral Health gives a great overview of the Division and its mission in his blog today.  Take a look and bookmark the site for future news.