Addressing timely access to behavioral health care through the adoption of open access methods supports the well-being of people with behavioral health conditions, improves staff productivity, and increases financial stability for provider organizations. However, no study has previously documented the experience of provider organizations using this model in Massachusetts.
This five-part series of issue briefs describes MassHealth’s impact on the health and finances of its members, families, and communities, as well as on the wide variety of stakeholders and sectors outside of the traditional health care realm that benefit from the program, including:
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.
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 collection of materials is the latest in a series by the Urban Institute summarizing the findings from the 2018 Massachusetts Health Reform Survey (MHRS). The Foundation began conducting the MHRS in fall 2006 to support the evaluation of Massachusetts’ 2006 health care reform bill. The survey has been fielded periodically since 2006 – most recently in spring 2018 – to monitor key measures pertaining to health insurance coverage and health care access and affordability among non-elderly adults (ages 19-64) in Massachusetts.
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.
Estimating Cost Reductions Associated with the Community Support Program for People Experiencing Chronic Homelessness
This report presents the results of a study analyzing the impact of the Community Support Program for People Experiencing Chronic Homelessness (CSPECH) on the utilization and cost of health care services. CSPECH is an innovative program through which MassHealth reimburses community-based support services provided to chronically homeless individuals residing in permanent supportive housing.
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.
The “ Making Health Care Affordable” (MHCA) three-year grant program concluded in 2014. Margaret Houy and Kate Bazinsky of Bailit Health Purchasing, LLC report on the impact of the BCBSMA Foundation’s funding initiative. The goal of MHCA was to fund interventions aimed at containing costs while increasing access and quality of care. Bailit examines how the Foundation’s objectives were met, what factors led to successful program implementation, common barriers faced by grantees, and which programs may have generalizability.
Social determinants of health, which encompass social, behavioral and environmental influences on one’s health, have taken center stage in recent health policy discussions. While research indicates that greater attention to these non-medical factors may improve health outcomes and reduce health care costs, translating this evidence into actionable recommendations for policy makers and others has been challenging.
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.
Responsible for the health care coverage of nearly two million residents and $13.7 billion in related expenditures, the future of MassHealth matters to all of us. This report, by Manatt Health Solutions, includes a series of recommendations that emerged through interviews with consumer advocates, providers, insurers, business leaders, public officials, and policy experts as priorities for the next governor.
One Care is Massachusetts’ demonstration project for adults with disabilities between the ages of 21 and 64 who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid. October 1, 2014 marked the first year anniversary of the demonstration, which is slated to run through December 31, 2016.