Posts Tagged ‘Maricopa County’

5 Years of Behavioral Health Innovation Paying Dividends (Part I)

April 15th, 2014

MPeople with a serious mental illness die more than 30 years earlier than people without those challenges.  Over the next few weeks, I’ll be reflecting about some of the innovative strategies that we’ve implemented with our behavioral health community partners over the last several years to improve the health status of folks with a serious mental illness.

I’ll start with a project that began with modest funding from SAMHSA, through a grant meant for small pilots to test concepts in our community.  In 2009, we and AHCCCS jointly applied for and got a Transformation Transfer Initiative grant which was used to initiate a peer-based whole health program Maricopa and Pima Counties.  The goal of the program was to help transform the behavioral health system into one that applies a holistic approach to consumer health.

Magellan Health Services of Arizona launched the first phase of Integrated Health Homes as part of this initiative- bringing together mental health and physical health care.  The model was a partnership between Magellan, Maricopa Integrated Health System, and CHOICES Network, Partners in Recovery, People of Color Network and Southwest Network.  By 2013, there were 10 Integrated Health Homes in Maricopa County that have been providing coordinated care for members.  Thousands of people have received coordinated care and achieved better outcomes through these health homes.  Here are some additional typical health home participant vignettes that profile service recipients who can benefit from the initiative.

In the coming weeks, I’ll cover improvements in the Crisis Response System, the kids system of care, children’s substance abuse, coordination with the correctional system, and performance dashboards.

Epidemiologists: Public Health’s Smoke-Jumpers

April 10th, 2014

MeaslesLike a hotshot team, a rapid response by public health is essential to stopping the spread of measles in unvaccinated persons… and disease detectives in Maricopa County are currently working to squash a measles outbreak right now.

Last week a person with measles visited a restaurant, church and airport in Arizona, exposing over a thousand people to measles.  Press releases and health alerts have gone out- and epidemiologists, public health nurses, and healthcare providers have been dispatched by Maricopa County Public Health to identify, isolate and control further cases.  Time will tell if their efforts pay off.  We should know in a couple of weeks (the incubation period for measles is 10 – 18 days).

Measles seeks out the unvaccinated like fire seeks a dry branch – the chance of an unvaccinated contact getting measles is 90% once exposed.   If you’re not vaccinated against measles, you can get it just by being in a room with someone who has measles.  A measles vaccine can prevent infection if given within 72 hours of exposure as an emergency control measure for unvaccinated folks…  but herd immunity is what keeps the community from getting burned.

A Key Measure of Preparedness Improves in AZ

March 18th, 2014

During a major crisis, such as an influenza pandemic, we might need to take extraordinary steps to ensure that healthcare workers have the medicines and supplies on hand to treat patients.  State, local, and federal agencies all participate in the Strategic National Stockpile program to help ensure that these critical resources are available during disaster situations.

The main purpose of our Strategic National Stockpile program is to distribute medicines, vaccine, and supplies during all types of public health emergencies.  This year, we improved that capability once again.  Scores for our state and local programs rose this year according to the CDC’s annual Technical Assistance Review.  Every year, the CDC looks at key “functional areas” across the state and in select local jurisdictions.  The Review score rose up to 97%, Maricopa County maintained its high mark of 99%, and Pinal County achieved a 100% in all 12 areas. 

These outstanding scores demonstrate our statewide commitment to the Strategic National Stockpile program, and highlight the extraordinary efforts of our public health preparedness teams.  Here’s how to learn more about the Strategic National Stockpile program.


AZ Aces Latest CDC Public Health Preparedness Report Card

February 3rd, 2014

Arizona continues to score high marks on preparedness according to a CDC report released this week.  We got a perfect score this year for biological laboratory testing, and we’ve kept our excellent performance measures for incident management, public information, and medical countermeasures.  Our response times for activating our emergency operation center have been well above the national target for the last three years, and our chemical laboratory detection capabilities have been fully “demonstrated” and “passed” for two years running.  

Our state’s Strategic National Stockpile program received a special mention on page 18 of the report.  ADHS, along with Maricopa and Pinal Counties, conducted a full-scale exercise to distribute life-saving medications to the public.  This national recognition demonstrates the hard work of our preparedness staff and our local health department partners. Thanks to all of you for your hard work through the years to get us to this stage of readiness. 

You can view this year’s National Snapshot report to see how Arizona compares to the rest of the nation.  You can take steps to make sure your family is prepared too – check out my blog from last Spring – the Family is the First Responder.

Behavioral Health Transition Going Smooth

January 31st, 2014

As Cory mentioned in his blog awhile back, our award of the Maricopa County integrated behavioral health services contract to Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care (Mercy Maricopa) was affirmed and the Stay on transition activities was lifted a few weeks ago.  Magellan elected to exercise their right to additional due process and has filed a Motion in Superior Court asking for additional review of our and ADOA’s decision. 

In the mean-time, our team has been working hard with Magellan on the day-to-day management of the current contract as well as continuing to work with both Magellan and Mercy Maricopa on more than 100 transition activities… which are going well.  Magellan has submitted more than 61 out of 99 transition deliverables, and none have been late.  Mercy Maricopa has turned in 74% of their deliverables- and is on track to be ready before April 1. 

We’ve also been continuing our community engagement to let members know about the transition.  Here’s an educational video English [Spanish] and slides that we’ve been sharing with members.  In short, we continue to be on-track for a smooth transition on April 1.

Next Stop On the Due Process Express

December 17th, 2013

As Cory mentioned in his blog last week, the ADOA recently affirmed our award of the Maricopa County integrated behavioral health services contract to Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care and lifted the Stay on transition activities. The Order from ADOA marked one more step in the process of implementing an integrated care model for folks living with a serious mental illness in Maricopa County.  

Magellan elected to exercise their right to additional due process this week by filing a Motion in Superior Court asking for additional review of our and ADOA’s decision- and urging the court to Stay the transition until the review is complete.  In the mean-time, we’ll continue to work with Magellan on the day-to-day management of the current contract as well as continue to work with both Magellan and MMIC on more than 100 transition activities.


Request for Information (RFI) for the Greater Arizona “RFP”

December 9th, 2013

Now that we’re on the road to transitioning to a new system of behavioral health care in Maricopa County, it’s time to move our sights toward taking our reform initiative to the rest of the State.  Our first objective is to get input from the public and other Stakeholders. 

That’s why we, in coordination with AHCCCS, released a Request for Information (RFI) this week.  We’re exploring the feasibility of contracting with more than one at-risk managed care organization to act as a Regional Behavioral Health Authority to create an integrated health care service delivery system to provide physical and behavioral health care services, and to maximize care coordination statewide (we’ve already started the transition in Maricopa County).  

The purpose of RFI is to seek input on the design of the service delivery system to be implemented in Greater Arizona and be fully operational by October 1, 2015.  The Request for Information asks a series of 15 key questions that will impact on how we formulate our next procurement solicitation for behavioral health services.  Folks can submit comments to Elena Beeman in our Procurement shop through January 22, 2014 to weigh in.


AZ Office of Administrative Hearings Speaks

November 26th, 2013

The formal protest process regarding our award of the Regional Behavioral Health Authority contract in Maricopa County is finally winding down.  The proceedings at the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) were completed a few weeks ago, and the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) issued her recommendation on Monday, concluding that: “Based on the foregoing, it is recommended that ADHS’s award of the 2013 RBHA contract to MMIC shall be affirmed and that Magellan’s appeal shall be dismissed.” 

The Recommendation (at the end) says: “In the event of certification of the Administrative Law Judge Decision by the Director of the Office of Administrative Hearings, the effective date of the Order will be five days from the date of that certification”…  which suggests that the ALJ’s recommendation still needs to be certified by the OAH Director- and that the effective date of the recommendation would be 5 days after that.  At that point the certified recommendation would go to the Arizona Department of Administration for a final determination.


Maricopa County RBHA Update

October 25th, 2013

The formal protest process regarding our award of the Regional Behavioral Health Authority contract in Maricopa County is finally winding down.  The oral part of the hearing in front of the Administrative Law Judge was completed a couple of weeks ago.  The final legal filings are due next week and the responses to those filings are due October 29.  At that point, the judge will have everything. After 10/29 the hearing will be completely in the hands of the judge and she’ll determine what her recommendation will be to the AZ Department of Administration.  

We expect the recommendation to go to the ADOA sometime in November, but that remains at the discretion of the judge based on all the filings that are received.  Once the recommendation from the judge is issued, the ADOA will examine the result (and the evidence) and make a determination about whether the procurement decision stands or not.


Maricopa County Behavioral Health Contract Update

June 19th, 2013

Last week the AZ Department of Administration decided to ask the Arizona Office of Administrative Hearings to conduct an official hearing regarding our October 1 contract award for the Regional Behavioral Health Authority in Maricopa County.  You may remember that the ADOA issued a stay last month that stopped the transition process.  We received a notice from the ADOA yesterday that the hearing is scheduled for the week of August 12.

In the meantime, our procurement and legal team will be preparing for the August Hearing…  and our folks on the 2nd floor will be busy working on the integration processes.  No matter what happens with the contract, we’re working hard to ensure that we will soon have medical care integrated with behavioral health care for the people in Maricopa County.