New behavioral health model can improve lives of chronic mental health patients - Sovereign Health Group
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New behavioral health model can improve lives of chronic mental health patients

Adults with chronic mental health disorders face a reduced life span compared to the general population, increasing the need for a robust behavioral health care model. Acting on that line, the Community Care Behavioral Health Organization, which is a part of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Insurance Services Division, came up with a groundbreaking model to boost patient activation and the use of outpatient care among adults with severe mental ailments.

To assess the impact of the model called Behavioral Health Home Plus, a study was conducted between October 2013 and January 2016. Funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), the study involved 11 community mental health providers in Pennsylvania that delivered either behavioral health home care or provider-supported care. The findings of the study were published recently in the journal Health Affairs.

Dr. James Schuster, chief medical officer for Medicaid, special needs and behavioral services at UPMC Insurance Services Division, and lead author of the study, said that behavioral health care should be integrated with physical health treatment for adults with serious mental illness to ensure high quality medical care. He also said that such an approach would ensure both physical and mental wellness with a focus on prevention and holistic health.

The study findings suggested that both provider-supported and self-directed approaches have resulted in higher engagement in primary and specialty care, increased patient activation in care, and perceived mental health status among the participants. Experts believe the findings can have a positive impact on the delivery of both behavioral and physical health care services to mental health patients in Pennsylvania and the rest of the country.

“This model demonstrates the value of Pennsylvania’s approach to behavioral health services for Medicaid members, which encourages close collaboration between patients, providers, county-based human service programs, and managed care organizations,” said Dr. David Kelley, chief medical officer at the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services’ Office of Medical Assistance Programs. Inspired by the success of the UPMC model, 40 more care providers across Pennsylvania have started to implement similar models.

Mental health problems are treatable

Despite tremendous progress made over the years, failing mental health continues to impact millions of Americans in a significant way. Regardless of socioeconomic status and talent, emotional or behavioral disorders have become one of the most difficult challenges afflicting individuals nationwide. Untreated mental health issues cost the U.S. billions of dollars each year in terms of lost productivity and high treatment expenses. However, preventive mental health screening and timely professional treatment can save many lives and reduce the financial burden on the state.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), almost one in five American adults experiences mental illness in a given year. But less than half of the mentally ill individuals receive treatment for their condition. Unfortunately, for no rhyme or reason, our society has made it extremely difficult for those battling mental health problems to voice their concerns openly without the fear of discrimination. Millions experience a wide ranging mental health symptoms, but the manifold nature of these conditions induces fear of being labeled as a lunatic or cast out from society. Sadly, the associated stigma is so stronger that it can prevent the needy from seeking medical intervention.

If a person is grappling with psychiatric disorder, he/she should immediately seek professional help from a reputed mental health care provider. Sovereign Health’s mental health facilities in California offer a variety of customized therapies to treat mental health disorders. Clinicians at our world-class mental health inpatient treatment centers are trained to identify the underlying causes and prescribe customized treatments as well as group psychotherapy based on a patient’s requirements. Call our 24/7 helpline or chat online with one of our counselors for more information on our rehab centers.

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