What does it mean to be "multi-payer" and why children's mental health advocates should care

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Great article on the Commonwealth Fund website today about the importance of getting insurers, providers, and yes, consumers on the same page when it comes to paying for health care. The key is setting up multi-payer processes in place to provide quality care. Network faithful might be wondering why we would encourage you to read an article on multi-payer networks. Well, because this is going to be the world of an effective children's mental health advocate in the coming years. The examples in this article are not focused on mental health but the parallels to what will need to happen to get quality children's mental health care paid for in the new health reform environment are spot on. Got your attention? Consider these comments from the article: "It's all about being multi-payer," Richard Gilfillan, head of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, told state officials at a meeting this week sponsored by the National Academy for State Health Policy...

"Multi-payer" might sound like more mushy policy jargon. But it could be key to new forms of payment that allow doctors and hospitals to actually reorganize treatment services to do the things many wonks want: more team-based care, access to doctors and nurses by phone and email, smarter use of health information technology, and better preventive care.

Why is it key? Because a medical practice, for example, can't reorganize to deliver care in promising new ways unless most or all of the insurers that cover its patients agree on a common payment approach that rewards the practice for the new model of treatment...

Gilfillan said the program also aims to enlist providers in system redesign efforts. He said they too want to coordinate in an efficient way with their peers to better take care of patients.

Okay Network faithful, once again this is straight out of the system of care playbook. You know this stuff and need to be involved, so study up and read this article! Then post your questions. Health care reform is confusing (it's got me poppin' the Advil on a regular basis) so the more questions you ask the more answers we can provide.

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