Integration puzzle

Integrated healthcare is increasingly recognized as a best practice, but in Michigan it’s also being discussed as a mandate. As part of his 2017 executive budget recommendation, the Governor has advised the state and healthcare provider communities to move together toward a patient-centered approach that coordinates mental and behavioral health treatments with physical health treatments.

The Michigan Health Endowment Fund’s first Behavioral Health grant opportunity focused on integrated care, so we were excited to attend the Michigan Health Policy Spring Forum: Integrating Behavioral Health and Physical Health – Structuring a Delivery System to Meet Michigan’s Needs.

More than 400 attended the May 2nd event, including speakers from the Michigan Departments of Health and Human Services, the SAMHSA-HRSA Center for Integrated Health Solutions, advocacy organizations, and provider organizations. All of these groups shared their perspectives on the need for integrated care and current strategies to integrate. Here are some takeaways:

  • The need for behavioral health services continues to be high. The suicide rate has continued to grow since 2006, there has been a significant increase in deaths due to prescription pain killer overdose and about 30% of individuals with severe mental illness are not receiving treatment.
  • While there is a growing need for additional services, there is also growing evidence that integrated care is effective. Keynote speaker Laura Galbreath stated there are over 70 randomized control trials that demonstrate collaborative care works. Many of these studies can be found in the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s database of Evidence Based Practice Reports.
  • While there is generally agreement on the need for integration at the service delivery level, there have been many disagreements on the integration of the payment structure. This has led to the formation of the “Stakeholder 298 Workgroup” which has been meeting to develop recommendations on how the to further integration. The meeting materials and resources are all publicly available for review.

The Health Fund is encouraged by the dialogue among policymakers and stakeholders throughout Michigan. We’re happy to see these groups working together to improve access to high quality, person-centered and integrated mental health and substance use disorder services for Michigan residents. We’ll continue supporting integrated care efforts, and look forward to helping improve the lives of some of our state’s most vulnerable individuals.

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