The Need for a Behavioral Health Care Model that Benefit all Patients

By | April 12, 2022

One of many exciting and educational programs to look forward to at the HFMA Revenue Cycle Conference on Thursday, May 5th is the session on developing the importance of integrating behavioral health into the care model; the opportunities and challenges that presents to a fragmented care market and the challenges in packaging this service for effective care to the patient.

Behavioral health relates to the connection between your behavior and the health of your mind, body, and spirit. We all have been experiencing the impact that COVID-19 has had on our mental, emotional, and physical well-being over the past couple of years. It is now more important than ever to address these issues and figure out a way to enhance the behavioral health care system and help patients to manage stress and navigate their lives with all of the changes that have taken place due to the pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the systemic issues in the behavioral health system and continues to take a major toll on people’s general mental health. This in turn, has caused a significant uptick in psychiatric admissions. Patients’ conditions are also more severe when they present for care than they had been prior to the pandemic, likely due to excess stress at work and home with having to adapt quickly to drastic changes to their work and home environments. While need has gone up with people needing access to behavioral health care, existing workforce shortages have simultaneously gotten more severe and capacity in both the inpatient and outpatient settings have been limited – compounding the issue that much more. The workforce shortages have been impacting many industries but with this is on top of historic under-reimbursement for behavioral health services, which, in turn, makes recruiting workers more difficult.

Emily Bailey, Chief of Behavioral Health at Mass Health and Gregory Harris, Senior Medical Director in Behavioral Health at Blue Cross Blue Shield will discuss basic information on behavioral health integration by giving two short presentations about why behavioral health is an important factor in patient care management, how each of their health re-imbursement models is currently paying for this service, and how success is intended to be measured; followed by a panel discussion. Our panel of experts include behavioral health providers and payers in both the public and private sectors focusing on the importance of integrating behavioral health into the care model.

More about the speakers/panel of experts:

Dr. Gregory Harris – Senior Medical Director, Behavioral Health Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

Dr. Harris is a board-certified adult Psychiatrist with a Master’s in Public Health and over 20 years of practice as an outpatient psychiatrist in primary care, home care and office—based settings. Dr. Harris started his career in integrated primary care and home care practices at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston and was an early adopter of technology in clinical practice. He has been active in organized medicine since residency and has served on many committees, advocating for mental health parity for coverage of mental health and substance use treatments under commercial health insurance.

Dr. Madhavi Kamireddi – Founding Medical Director, New England Center for Healthy Minds

Dr. Madhavi is a double board-certified Adult, Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist and TMS specialist with over 17 years of experience practicing in the community. She is passionate about providing comprehensive diagnostic evaluations, compassionate care, and novel treatment options to patients with challenging psychiatric disorders. Her expertise is in Pediatric Psychopharmacology with special emphasis towards educating patients and parents about mental
health illnesses and available treatment options to help them make informed choices.

Carlos Cappas, PsyD, MBA – Chief of Behavioral Health Officer, Lynn Community Health Center

Emily Bailey – Chief of Behavioral Health, Mass Health

Kumkum Dilwali – CEO, Comprehensive Health Services

Dr. Kiame Mahaniah – CEO, Lynn Community Health Center

Guy Fish, MD, MBA – CEO, Greater Lawrence Family Health Center

What are the opportunities and challenges inherent in our current fragmented system of care and how do we develop and pay for a more integrated model that benefits all patients?