The National Council for Behavioral Health and the National Council Medical Director Institute released a far-reaching report this month: The Psychiatric Shortage: Causes and Solutions. As a recognized leader in behavioral health reviews, this BHM Healthcare Insider Blog brings selections from the executive summary focusing on the behavioral healthcare shortages and solutions.
Managing behavioral health costs challenges the US healthcare system. The issues encompass many of the legacy processes and structures needing to be overhauled. Some interesting recently posted examples may show the way for the entire healthcare system. These come from both payers and providers.
Providers are beginning to bridge the gap between medical and mental care, forming partnerships aimed at improving patients’ physical and mental health, and reducing costs at the same time. Such holistic projects are underway in numerous states, including California, New York, Washington, and Florida.
Behavioral Health Integration has become one of the largest trends in healthcare this year. With one in 5 adults¹ experiencing a mental health condition each year, mental health can longer be pushed to the back burner. The demand for behavioral health services across the nation is sky rocketing, putting BH integration in an important position to help close gaps in care. It will take everyone from provider to payers breaking the stigma surrounding mental health and investing in ways to improve access to care and care outcomes.
Thanks to The Excellence in Mental Health Act (ExACT) passed in 2014, it’s predicted that 2016 will be a big year for Behavioral Health. As the country takes critical steps towards moving Behavioral healthcare off the back burner, demand for these services continues to grow. This will result in ample opportunity for organizations diving into Behavioral Health or BH Integration to champion the cause in 2016. But it’s important to remember that the impact of Behavioral health moves across the care continuum.
Primary care providers are no strangers to behavioral health. Many individuals with behavioral health conditions pass through primary care settings daily. It’s reported that one in five Americans suffer from behavioral health conditions. This had lead to an estimated $57 billion per year in costs. The treatment gap is also an issue. Mental health issues are frequently unrecognized and often reimbursement for behavioral health services is not an option. This has resulted in primary care providers and payers integrating behavioral health services into model of care.
In 2014 more than 14,000 people died from prescription opioid overdoses* and the numbers are not decreasing. Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs and the analysis of patient data, are two ways the healthcare industry is fighting the opioid epidemic.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, an estimated $25 billion of U.S. healthcare costs was attributed to the abuse of painkillers—otherwise known as opioids. Up to 36 million people worldwide struggle with opioid addiction. CNN recently revealed that health Insurance companies alone lose a total of $72.5 billion annually due to of opioid addiction. Cigna is the most recent health insurance company to join the fight. By using patient data they are hoping to target overprescribing of prescription painkillers. Monitoring patient data and prescription history Cigna flags high-risk customers and notifies doctors about the patient’s history of opioid use or their high-risk behavior which puts the patient at risk for new prescriptions.
Behavioral health integration in primary care has been one of the biggest healthcare trends in 2016 so far. From cracking the stigma surrounding mental health to paving the way for better access to behavioral health related services, integration is making waves in all facets of the healthcare continuum. 2016 will be an important year for Behavioral Health integration with everyone employers to payors recognizing the importance of treating mental health issues in a primary care setting.
The healthcare industry is taking critical steps towards moving behavioral healthcare off the back burner and into the spotlight. As demand for behavioral and mental health services across the continuum of care continues to grow, there is wide spread opportunity for healthcare organizations to become champions for primary care and behavioral health integration.