Communities nationwide are facing a growing youth mental health crisis. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adverse childhood experiences are an important public health issue. Adverse childhood experiences have been linked to:
- Risky health behaviors
- Chronic health conditions
- Low life potential
- Early death
The key to addressing this nationwide youth mental health crisis is collaboration among providers to deliver preventative, coordinated care that focuses on improved outcomes.
The traditional method for handling youth with behavioral health needs has been large government programs and state-funded residential facilities. Governments are finding that investing in community-based care coordination alternatives is more cost-effective and improves community safety and outcomes for the youth. One source of funding that is driving these community-based program is the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare (CMS) 1115 Waiver program called “Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment” (DSRIP). The goal of DSRIP programs is to improve population health, enhance patient outcomes, and reduce the costs of care by promoting collaboration, supporting innovation, and bringing renewed attention to social services.
A great example of a population health initiative being driven by DSRIP programs are the efforts of the North Country Council of Social Agencies in Jefferson County, New York to provide more collaborative and cost-effective behavioral health care to minors. One such program is Jefferson County’s “Therapeutic Crisis Respite Program” that works to reduce hospitalization of youths. The program includes a 24-hour crisis response services, short-term residential program with psychiatric evaluations, medication evaluations, and other mental health services. So far the program has been very successful. According to Michelle L. Monnat, Director of Systems Administration at the Children’s Home of Jefferson County, “Of the roughly 100 youths who have used the program, only 3 percent have been discharged and sent to the hospital.” That is great success. In fact, other organizations in New York are looking to Jefferson County for ideas on how to set up their own programs.
DSRIP and other programs that focus on improving population health rely heavily on the integration of primary and behavioral health services in order to provide whole-person care. This is even more critical for youth with behavioral issues because of the long-term impact. People with mental illness are more likely to have chronic health conditions that result in costly hospitalizations and poor health.
Patient-focused case management is a key driver to achieving improved health outcomes for youth with behavioral health needs. ClientTrack has a long background in helping organizations coordinate whole-patient care among multiple organizations, achieving better health outcomes for individuals and reduced costs for providers. It’s a win win for everyone.