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Behavioral Health Integration News

HHS releases road map to address mental health pay parity, workforce shortage issues

The Biden administration laid out a road map (PDF) for increasing pay parity and access to mental health care as efforts in Congress stall out. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the road map Friday that laid out strategies for integrating mental health and substance abuse care into larger systems. A key pillar of the road map is to make it easier for people to get care, including making reforms to behavioral health financing arrangements in government programs such as Medicaid.

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Five Areas Where “More Research” Isn’t Needed to Curb the Overdose Crisis

In the science-to-medicine pipeline, there is a point when a body of evidence is so well-established that to not put the science into action would be an abdication of responsibility. When it comes to the current crisis, there are at least five things that science has shown conclusively to be effective, where communities and healthcare providers can apply what we already know works. 

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Excitement About BHI Grows Faster as the Evidence Becomes More and More Clear

Did you know that there are over 80 randomized control trials that show behavioral health integration improves mental health outcomes and medical comorbidity outcomes as well? A new report published by the American Medical Association and Manatt Health presents some excellent – and motivating – information! The report outlines the opportunities and challenges of incorporating virtual care (telehealth) and other digital tools to accelerate the adoption of behavioral health integration. A June 21st webinar brought together several experts to discuss the report and how BHI is the best path to our urgent goal of improved mental and physical health outcomes. Excitement about BHI grows faster as the evidence becomes more and more clear: BHI will save lives and presents a practical, effective way to address the mental health crisis.

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UCA Kicks Off Naloxobox Bystander Rescue Program

In collaboration with the Arkansas Department of Health, Division of Aging, Adult, and Behavioral Health Services, The University of Central Arkansas is implementing the Collegiate Naloxobox Bystander Program.  The Naloxobox provides lifesaving Naloxone for emergency situations involving overdose due to opioids. The Naloxboxes will be mounted on walls in areas on campus where a student may experience an overdose, like emergency defibrillators and fire extinguishers. Each Naloxbox holds two doses of Naloxone, a mask for rescue breathing, gloves, and information on how to obtain personal Naloxone and how to access addiction treatment.  We look forward to seeing more colleges, healthcare, and other facilities implement this type of lifesaving program.

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Whole Health Pioneers. Students to Take Holistic Approach to Patient Care.

The leaders behind whole health medical school in Bentonville not only want to expand health care in northwest Arkansas, but they also want to remake how it’s done. The 154,000-SF Alice L. Walton School of Medicine, the brainchild of the Walmart Inc. heiress,  is scheduled to break ground this spring near the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

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Primary Care Docs Need 27 Hours a Day to Do Their Best Work

There literally aren’t enough hours in a single day for primary care physicians (PCPs) to provide the full gamut of basic, guideline-based care, according to a simulation study. PCPs would need an “infeasible” 26.7 hours each day to provide preventive, chronic disease, and acute care for a typical panel of U.S. adult patients, Justin Porter, MD, of the University of Chicago, and colleagues, reported in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

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Principles to Guide Spending of Opioid Litigation Settlement Funds in Arkansas

The opioid and illicit drug epidemic began with misleading marketing and overprescribing of opioids in the 1990s, eventually leading to Arkansas having the second-highest opioid prescription rate in the nation today. The flood of opioids and subsequent addiction led to an influx of heroin and now synthetic opioids, particularly those involving the synthetic opioid fentanyl, which is frequently illicitly mixed with many street drugs and used in counterfeit prescription pills.

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Designing, Implementing, and Sustaining Physical Health-Behavioral Health Integration. The Compherensive Healthcare Integration Framework.

This paper presents the Comprehensive Healthcare Integration (CHI) Framework, a new framework for guiding the implementation of integration of physical health (PH) and behavioral health (BH) (mental health and substance use conditions), that can help providers, payers, and population managers to measure progress in organizing delivery of integrated services – referred to in this report as “integratedness” – demonstrate the value produced by progress in integrated service delivery and provide initial and sustainable financing for integration. Integration, as used herein, is also inclusive of attention to social determinants of health (SDOH) and health equity for underserved populations.

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Tackling America’s Mental Health and Addiction Crisis Through Primary Care Integration

Recognizing the strong connection between physical and behavioral health, the Bipartisan Policy Center convened the Behavioral Health Integration Task Force. The Task Force focused on breaking down barriers to integrating primary and behavioral health care. Their white paper and a full set of recommendations titled, Tackling America’s Mental Health and Addiction Crisis Through Primary Care Integration can be viewed here.

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