Behavioral health urgent care services are a critical component of the broader behavioral health care delivery system. Developing and sustaining a robust set of behavioral health urgent care services across community-based settings will provide adults with more options for timely access to care and offer alternatives to emergency departments for treatment.
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Expanding Access to Behavioral Health Care in Massachusetts through Telehealth: Sustaining Progress Post-Pandemic
At the onset of the COVID-19 public health emergency, Massachusetts led the nation in rapidly deploying progressive policies to temporarily expand access to telehealth. These changes have enabled significant increases in adoption of telehealth, including telebehavioral health, for providers and consumers in a short period of time. Prior to COVID-19, utilization of telebehavioral health had not gained widespread spread traction in Massachusetts despite its potential as a means to dramatically improve access to behavioral health care services, particularly for vulnerable populations.
On October 18, 2019, Governor Charlie Baker submitted House Bill 4134, An Act to Improve Health Care by Investing in Value, to the Massachusetts Legislature. The bill proposes a comprehensive set of policies designed to address barriers to behavioral health care access, including the establishment of a new system that would incentivize providers and health plans to spend more of their funds on primary care and behavioral health services while rebalancing spending in other areas.
Fostering Effective Integration of Behavioral Health and Primary Care in Massachusetts: An Evaluation
In January 2016, the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation undertook a three-year grant-funded initiative to expand access to integrated behavioral health (IBH) and primary care services in Massachusetts – Fostering Effective Integration (FEI). Grants were awarded to a diverse cohort of eight providers in the Commonwealth with experience in delivering IBH care. This report describes the findings of an evaluation conducted by John Snow, Inc. (JSI) from January 2016 to December 2018.
This report and companion chart pack document and describe the current behavioral health (inclusive of mental health and substance use disorder) care system for children, adolescents, and adults in Massachusetts; outline a new whole-person-oriented vision for behavioral health care in the Commonwealth; and propose a strategic approach and series of recommendations through which the state can advance this vision to achieve reform.
This series of reports describes the results of a comprehensive mixed-methods study, Access to Outpatient Mental Health Services in Massachusetts. The study sought to quantify the wait times for outpatient mental health office visits in Massachusetts, better understand the experiences of clients seeking an appointment, and identify facilitators and barriers to accessing mental health services.
This primer is designed to increase understanding of the behavioral health care system in Massachusetts and the issues affecting access to care for individuals with mental health and substance use disorders. It is intended to serve as a foundation for future work focused on behavioral health system solutions.
Fostering Effective Integration of Behavioral Health and Primary Care in Massachusetts, Year One Report
This report includes findings from the evaluation of the 2015 Fostering Effective Integration grant program. The goals of the evaluation were to determine 1) how grantees defined “success” for their integration efforts, 2) grantee perceptions of the critical components of effective integration programs, 3) common barriers to integration, and 4) measures grantees used to assess programs.
Coordinating Care for Patients with Alcohol or Drug Use Disorders: Effective Practices and Common Barriers in Three Centers
In recent years, integrating treatment for mental health and substance use disorders (SUD) with primary care has been the subject of extensive research testing a number of different integration models and specific interventions. While many of these approaches have shown promise in demonstrations or clinical trials, the true test of value is in real-world settings where there are competing demands on scarce resources, strict fidelity to intervention protocols is difficult, and patients have multiple urgent needs.
This report, prepared by Robert Belfort and Alex Dworkowitz of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, provides a review of the primary Massachusetts and federal privacy laws relevant to the exchange of information among physical and behavioral health providers and an assessment of technological and operational challenges faced by providers seeking to integrate care through enhanced data exchange.
This report, prepared by Margaret Houy and Michael Bailit of Bailit Health Purchasing, LLC, provides a comprehensive review of the policy and regulatory barriers that impede behavioral health integration in Massachusetts and identifies potential options for addressing these barriers. This report is divided into three sections – licensing, privacy, and, reimbursement barriers – and was developed through a review of reports and other secondary sources, agency regulations and checklists, and interviews and a focus group with key stakeholders.
Addiction and Recovery Services in the City of Boston: A Blueprint for Building a Better System of Care
In 2014, the Foundation partnered with the city of Boston to conduct a thorough analysis of the scope of Boston's substance use addiction problem and selected DMA Health Strategies to conduct the research. With the Mayor’s Office, the Foundation also assembled an Addiction Recovery Advisory Group comprised of addiction experts and community stakeholders to work closely with the researchers.
Beyond Parity: Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder under Payment and Delivery System Reform in Massachusetts
This report by Colleen Barry of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health explores opportunities and issues around integrating behavioral health care and primary care under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and payment and delivery system reforms in Massachusetts. The report provides preliminary recommendations on how these major policy changes might be implemented with the goal of improving the coordination, quality and outcomes of mental health and addiction care in the Commonwealth.
This report is based on a survey of 1,982 mental health providers in Massachusetts including psychiatrists, psychiatric clinical nurse specialists, psychologists, social workers, mental health counselors, and marriage and family therapists. It estimates the need for childrens mental health services; assesses child and family mental health service delivery capacity; identifies variation in capacity, including variation by geography, linguistic ability, and cultural competence; and documents challenges to meeting current demand for services.
Implementing the Rosie D. Remedy: The Opportunities and Challenges of Restructuring a System of Care for Children's Mental Health in Massachusetts
The district court ruling in Rosie D. v. Romney, and the subsequent remedy now being implemented by state health and human service agencies, have the potential to transform the delivery of mental health services for children with serious emotional disturbances in Massachusetts. This issue brief explores the implications and potential effects of the case and the resulting remedy on the MassHealth program, other state programs, the behavioral health and social service delivery systems, and affected children and their families.