accountable care, camden coalition, community health

New ways to treat behavioral health in Medicaid

Aug 07 2014

Behavioral health is a critical issue for those who are on Medicaid. As Managed Care magazine reports, serious mental illnesses, for example schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder and bipolar illness, are found in 4.1 percent of the general population, but in 11 percent of those who are on Medicaid. Several states are working to develop new models and innovative approaches to better care for those suffering from mental illnesses, seeing this as an important step in ensuring both mental and physical well-being.

“When a behavioral disorder is added to an existing physical condition, the intensity of services increases exponentially,” says Al White, MD, chief medical officer of Aetna’s Medicaid plans, in the story. “We now realize you cannot effectively treat either physical or behavioral problems without addressing the other.”

One state that is working to break new ground is Arizona. On April 1, Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care took on a $1 billion state contract to administer mental health and substance abuse services for adults and children in the greater Phoenix area. Aetna Medicaid Administrators provides management services for the contract, which includes integrating physical health services for people diagnosed with a serious mental illness. By engaging 115 organizations, including medical providers, mental health centers, and employment and housing organizations, the county is integrating its approach to physical, behavioral and pharmacy benefit needs.

Read the full article here.