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The Problem:

There is no health without mental health, and our health care system should reflect this. When we integrate our mental health care with other health care systems, school services, and other support systems, we get better outcomes for less money. With systems working together, we reduce unnecessary and unsafe services and treatment and make sure each individual gets the care they need when they need it.  

Mental Health America's Recommendations:

  • Modernize Health Care Financing.  Scale up alternative payment models that promote flexible, team-based care, including community-based supports. Research shows that effective mental health care is delivered by a team working together to provide for an individual’s needs in a coordinated way, especially out in the community. Payment models should offer flexibility, and value-based payment should incentivize effective teamwork, rather than solely individual provider performance. CMS and states should work to scale up effective waivers and innovation grants for behavioral health.
  • Incentivize a Coordinated Workforce.  Incentivize the training of new behavioral health providers, and ensure that all providers are trained in evidence-based integration and coordination models.  As with health homes, systems can also incentivize current providers to adopt evidence-based integration models. Part of building a coordinated workforce may also include greater oversight for parity in reimbursement to ensure that behavioral health providers are compensated fairly for their services.
  • Promote Effective Use of Technology.  Public and private health care systems should extend to behavioral health providers incentives for meaningful use of health information technology (HIT), and should reimburse for the use of effective new technologies, including telehealth and assistance with the use of software-based care. Technology enables effective coordination and engagement, both between different providers and between the individual and their care. To promote coordination, any laws that require a separate authorization for behavioral health information should be repealed, since this can impede coordination care between providers without offering the individual any additional protection.

Contact MHA’s Executive Vice President of Policy, Mary Giliberti, for questions, collaboration on mental health legislation, or other MHA recommended policies and bill language, at (703) 797-2583 or