Washington, DC- As an additional 30 million people become eligible for health insurance that covers mental health and addictions treatment beginning in 2014, behavioral health provider organizations across the country can join new learning networks funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and coordinated by the State Associations of Addiction Services (SAAS).
This initiative will help behavioral health providers improve their capacity to serve vast new numbers of Americans seeking mental health and addictions treatment services. With the goal of ensuring that providers are well-equipped to provide effective and efficient behavioral health services, the effort affords providers the best opportunity to successfully meet the increasing system demands.
SAAS will work in collaboration with NIATx at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, and Advocates for Human Potential (AHP) to administer the initiative titled: BHbusiness: Mastering Essential Business Operations.
“The Affordable Care Act and the Mental Health Parity & Addiction Equity Act of 2008 open access to behavioral health care for millions of Americans. We are extremely pleased that SAMHSA responded by ensuring provider training and technical assistance will be available so organizations are fully equipped to meet that demand,” said Becky Vaughn, CEO, SAAS.
The learning networks will help participating behavioral health providers master core business operations and related competencies, including the following: strategic business planning, third party billing and compliance, eligibility and enrollment, third party contract negotiation and meaningful use of HIT.
BHbusiness will target behavioral health treatment providers, peer recovery support organizations, Access to Recovery (ATR) providers, and providers involved in the SAMHSA-funded National Network to Eliminate Disparities in Behavioral Health (NNED). Special emphasis will be placed on those providers that have limited business capacity to serve Medicaid and Medicaid expansion populations. The initiative establishes and supports 30 learning networks starting in 2013. In-person, E-learning and innovative coaching techniques will support knowledge development and implementation.
The curriculum for each regional network will be accessible online. The goal is to create a repository of resources and a structured curriculum on essential business operations that behavioral health providers can access as they adapt to meet today’s changing healthcare environment.
“With these resources available to them, providers can optimize their business operations and make the important transition from publicly funded services for the uninsured to becoming trading partners with health insurers and Medicaid managed care organizations to serve the newly insured. When we’re successful, millions of untreated mentally ill and addicted Americans – most of whom have comorbid medical conditions – will be able to access life-saving services,” said Vaughn.
Providers can apply to be a part of BHbusiness as an individual organization or as a part of a pre-existing network of organizations, including a provider association or coalition. The learning network application will be available in January 2013 and can be downloaded here.