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Mental Health Weekly – BHL’s Georgia Crisis & Access Line


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Mental Health Weekly – BHL’s Georgia Crisis & Access Line was showcased in the Special Issue, Mental Health Innovations, “GA Crisis System Demonstrates Efficiencies during Challenging Times.”

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Mental Health Weekly – BHL’s Georgia Crisis & Access Line

  1. 1. Special Issue: Mental Health Innovations MENTAL HEA Volume 19 Number 41 October 26, 2oo9 Print ISSN 1058-1103 Online ISSN 1556-7583 IN THIS Issue. .. A N. J.~based smoking cessation program is helping consumers with mental illness reduce and eliminate tobacco use. The program, called Choices, employs mental health peer counselors who give fellow consumers information about the health effects of smoking along with available resources for support. . . . See bottom story, this page Spotlight on Service Delivery: Award-winning program serves deaf consumers with MI . . . See page; Art projects created with glass promote insight into trauma . . . See page 5 MH campaign infuses economic challenges in ads to erase stigma . ..See page 6 NAMI calls on administration to continue to fund MH research . . . See page 8 D01 gets involved in NY housing issue for consumers APEX; .. t.u: .'lt'l°: ::. tm with MI . . . See page 8 NEWSLETTER WRITING O 2009 Wiley Periodicals. Inc. Published onllne In Wiley Intarsclence (www. w|leylntersclsnce. com) DOI: 10.1002/mhw.20207 5 ““ ©wll. Ev _ '. ImerScIence° DlS¢DViI soullniuu mun LTH WEEKLY Essential information for decision-makers Pa. agency, Ga. crisis system demonstrate efficiency during challenging times Budget cuts are no doubt straining many state mental health systems across the country and leading to an increase in service demand, fewer services with less resources and longer waiting periods. Despite those challenges, a Georgia statewide crisis system and a Pennsylvania communi- ty mental health agency are moving forward with innovative ways to address business issues and provide critical care. The Erie, Pa. , Safe Harbor Behavioral Health has incorporated the use of electronic health records, and adopted a social business enter- prise to sustain its business. Pennsylvania up until a week ago had been the only state that failed to adopt a budget for fiscal year 2009- 2010. The budget should have been finalized by June 30th, however it didn't occur until the second week of October. “We were able to maintain all services and programs at the same level with no reductions, ” Jonathan Evans, president of Safe Harbor Behavioral Health, told MHW. “We’ve really moved to a mission- driven business. In today's health care environment, it’s the only way to survive. ” Earlier this year in MHW’s annu- al Preview Issue, Evans vowed that his agency will continue to work to be increasingly innovative and “do See EFFICIENCY on page 2 New Jersey program confronts smoking while building peer support services A New Jersey program that pro- motes smoking cessation among individuals with mental illness com- bines two elements critical to the vision of a recovery-oriented care system: a wellness perspective that looks beyond mental health symp— tomatology alone, and the participa- tion of peers as the central deliverer of services. Consumers Helping Others Improve Their Condition by Ending Bottom Line. .. For many adult mental health consumers, the accomplishment of quitting smoking can represent their first experience in making a decision of major consequence. Smoking (CHOICES) is an effort presently confined to New Jersey’s borders, but one whose founders believe would be easily replicable anywhere. Now in its fifth year, CHOICES employs trained mental health peer counselors who give fel- low consumers information about smoking’s health effects and who link those interested in quitting to available resources for support. One of the program‘s original “consumer tobacco advocates, " who is still working for the program, told MHW that the program’s acronym accurately describes the “soft sell” approach he and his fellow coun- selors have to take. “I was a smok- er, and I know I can't tell people to See Smoxmc on page 6 A Wiley Periodicals, Inc. publication www. interscience. wiIey. com
  2. 2. Mental Health Weekly October 26,2009 EFFICIENCY from page1 more with less without compromis- ing the quality of care delivered, ” (see MHW, Jan. 5). That commitment has worked. The agency, said Evans, was able to maintain its services with significant adjustments in finances. “We noti- fied all our major vendors that we would have to suspend payments until the budget was passed, ” he said. ”This made it possible for us to focus all revenue received through our fee- for—service programs on staff salaries. ” “Suspended payments included our health insurance, utilities, mort- gage and all other operational expenses, ” he said. “In addition, we depleted savings and extended our line of credit. ” The agency also integrated its electronic health records. “As a result of having an efficient elec- tronic medical record and billing system, we were able to maintain timely and accurate billing which gave us the cash flow to maintain services, ” said Evans. The electronic health system is a comprehensive system which includes registration, clinical record and billing, he noted. “We have been ‘live’ with the system for two years and have realized significant improvements in efficiencies in operations, enhanced accuracy and timely bill and improvements in cash flow, ” he said. M1:11'rAL— .1}-|1sAL'rH WEEKLY Essential information for decision-makers Executive Managing Editor Karlenne Stovell Managing Editor Valerie A. Canady Associate Editor Sarah Merrill Contributing Editor Gary Enos Production Editor Douglas Devaux Executive Editor Isabelle Cohen-DeAnge| is Publisher Sue Lewis “The system is designed to have the chart available to clinicians at all times, ” said Evans. “Clinicians are able to complete documentation immediately and when the docu- mentation is approved and signed by the clinician, the bill is electronically ready for the billing department to review and send out. As a result, the accuracy and timeliness of our billings is significantly improved. ” Supervisors have reports avail- able to them in the system to review clinician's documentation and pro- ductivity on a daily basis, he said. An unexpected outcome came as a result of scanning all the old paper charts into the system, said Evans. “We were able to bar code all the charts and attach them to the elec- tronic record, ” he said. This resulted in additional space becoming avail- able in the building to develop into clinical offices and additional rev- enue, he said. Evans added, “That was pleasant surprise. It freed up space for patient care and office space for clinicians. So the old medical records space, which was overhead expense in the past, is now generating revenue. " Business enterprise, EAP program The agency established a sepa- rate corporation, Northwest Beacon Group, LLC, seven years ago as a subsidiary of the parent corporation, said Evans. The social enterprise has two major business lines, a pri- vate practice with four psychiatrists, four Ph. D. psychologists and approximately 15 licensed thera- pists. The separate corporation allows the agency to pursue new revenue opportunities (see MHW Feb. 11, 2008). Safe Harbor also has implement- ed an Employee Assistance Program. “We contract with 115 companies and cover approximately 44,000 lives, " he said. All profits realized in Northwest Beacon Group are donat- ed to the parent organization. This provided some revenue during the budget impasse. ” Evans said his organization has also looked to guidance from its board of directors as well as the book, “From Good to Great, ” by Jim Collins. I'm not saying we don't have our challenges, but we’re solv- ing them, ” he said. Georgia crisis service system Georgia’s Crisis and Access Line (GCAL) provides callers with inter- vention and access to behavioral health services. The initiative ensures access and continuity of care for consumers with mental health needs and help callers identi- fy treatment options and makes real—time linkages to providers. Launched in 2006, the GCAL is a resource for state residents who Mental Health Weekly (Print ISSN 1058-1103; Online ISSN 1556-7583) is an Inde- pendent newsletter meeting the Information needs of all mental health profes- sionals, providing timely reports on national trends and developments In funding, policy, prevention, treatment and research in mental health, and also covering issues on certification, reimbursement, and other news of importance to public, private nonprofit, and for-profit treatment agencies. Published every week except for the first Monday in July, the flrst Monday in September, the last Monday In November and the last Monday in December. The yearly subscription rates for Mental Health Weekly are: Electronic only: 5699 (Individual), $3950 (institutional); Print and electronic: 5769 (Individual, U. S.ICan. IMex. ), $913 (Individual, all other), $4345 (Institutional, U. S.), $4489 (institutional, Can. IMex. ) and $4537 (institutional, all other). Mental Health Weekly accepts no advertising and is supported solely by its readers. For address changes or new subscriptions, contact Subscription Distribution US, c/ o John Wiley 8: Sons, Inc. , 111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ o7o3o- 5774; (883) 378-2537; e-mall: sub| nfo@w| |ey. com. © 2oo9 Wiley Periodicals, lnc. , a Wiley Company. All rights reserved. Reproduction in any form without the consent of the publisher is strictly forbidden. For reprint permission, call (201)748-6011. Mental Health Weekly is indexed In CINAHL: Cumulative index to Nursing 84 Allied Health Literature (EBSCO). To renew your subscription, contact Subscription Distribution US, do John Wiley 8: Sons, Inc. , 111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774; (201) 748-6645: e-mail: subinfo@wl| ey. corn. Business and Editorial Offices: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. , 111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774; e-mail: v1:anady@wi| ey.1:om it is illegal underfederal copyright law to reproduce this publication or any portion of it without the publisher's permission MentalHealth Weekly DO| :1o.1oo2/mhw
  3. 3. October 26, 2009 Mental Health Weekly either require routine or crisis behavioral health care. The initiative provides on-the-spot appointment scheduling for basic services and linking callers to community mental health providers across the state. ‘People in crisis immed prior to the implementation of GCAL so there was significant confusing regarding access to behavioral health services, ” Feimster told MHW. “The lack of an existing accountable system to gain access to services iately need direction to where they can get care. ’ Pamela Schuble GCAL this year was named one of 16 finalists for the Harvard Kennedy School's Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation Award, from more than 1,000 applicants. The program has become a national model for how public health authorities can effec- tively use crisis call centers to provide 24/7 access and support for anyone experiencing emotional distress. The impetus for the initiative began in 2005 following Hurricane Katrina when 120,000 individuals displaced from the Gulf Coast trav- eled to Georgia, said Judy Feimster, project manager with the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities. At that time the state had 25 point—of— access lines that were not operated 24/7 by trained staff to provide immediate assistance to the caller. “Hurricane Katrina occurred Spotlight on Service Delivery across the state provided the depart- ment with a strong impetus to design the system of 24/7 trained cli- nicians provided by GCAL, ” Feimster told MHW Program officials have noted that the waiting time for psychiatric intake has been reduced to about five business days. Previous wait times for mental health intake have ranged from three weeks to three months. By calling the toll—free number, 800-715-4225, which is advertised on billboards, radio and television ads and over the Internet, con- sumers may be linked with more than 100 credentialed community providers and nearly 250 intake sites across the state. The state Department of Human Resources selected Behavioral Health Link as the vendor. The Atlanta—based company’s core busi- ness is crisis intervention and access management services, hotline, disas- ter outreach and mobile assistance. Local news reports indicated that the crisis services provided con- sumers helped avoid more than $1.7 million in costs to state mental health facilities in May when more than 24,000 consumers called in. “The state is very supportive of this program since it provides a safety net for persons with mental health and substance abuse problems across the state, ” Pamela Schuble, chief operating officer of Behavioral health Link, told MHW “People in crisis immediately need direction to where they can get care, ” she said. “When you get people to the appropriate level of care, you can save a lot of money. " Last year Behavioral Health Link received about 25,500 calls a month, said Schuble. “But since July we have seen a dramatic increase in this volume, ” said Schuble. “The current average in the first three months of the fiscal year is almost 28,500 calls a month. " Schuble said some of that increase can be attributed to the economy, including job losses and increased awareness of mental health issues affecting returning veterans. 0 Visit www. behavioralhealthlink. com for additional information about Georgia’s hotline. Award-winning program serves deaf consumers with Ml South Carolina at forefront of addressin needs for this underserve group Ten years ago the South Carolina Department of Mental Health was named a finalist in the Innovations in American Govern- ment Awards for developing and sponsoring a progressive program of mental health services directed to the needs of deaf and hard of hear- ing consumers. In 2009, the program has since expanded to include services for children, videophones for con- sumers, peer support and training; however, it can still be considered a pioneer of sorts given that the state along with Alabama and Minnesota represent the few at the forefront for addressing the needs for what national officials call an underserved and underrepresented population. The South Carolina Department of Mental Health (SCDMH) was Mental Health Weekly DO| :1o.1oo2/mhw lauded by award officials for the program’s development “despite the disconnected and rural nature of the state, the poverty of the typical con- sumers served, and the scarcity of available resources. “ Before the pro- gram’s inception in 1989, the aver- age length of stay at a mental health facility for deaf patients was more than nine months, noted award offi- cials. By 1999, it had been reduced to 17 days, with no long-term inpa- Continues on next page A Wiley Periodicals, inc. publication www. inteIscience. wiIey. com