CBHC submitted the following comments to the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) as feedback to the FY15 Strategic Plan
- Colorado’s behavioral health system is successfully working in communities across the state with mental health and substance use disorder services tailored to individual communities’ needs. We encourage CDHS to support this existing infrastructure that’s making and keeping Coloradans healthy.
- Behavioral health is healthcare. To achieve optimal patient outcomes, treating behavioral health issues is as important as any other medical treatment—to patient outcomes and to future healthcare costs to the State. The most efficient and effective environment to provide this type of person-focused care is with integrated and bi-directional care.
- Significant unmet behavioral health needs still exist in Colorado. We encourage CDHS to keep its investment in indigent care funding flowing into our behavioral health system—to meet unmet needs and to ensure all Coloradans, including those who remain uninsured or are underinsured, get the help they need to become and remain healthy.
- The newly-established crisis stabilization system is an important tool for our State to ensure Coloradans experiencing behavioral health crises have access to the right services to both deescalate their current situation and put and keep them on a path to better health.
- Prevention and early intervention are critical strategies for improving health. CDHS should expand support for these programs, such as Mental Health First Aid (MHFA). MHFA provides individuals with training so they can be effective in helping others who are experiencing a behavioral health crisis. MHFA also provides a bridge to appropriate care in their community.
- Promote evidence based programs that provide our elders with community access to a variety of services, including behavioral healthcare, to improve their outcomes in many domains and to help keep them in their homes, out of crisis, and from falling through the cracks in the fragmented system of services currently in Colorado.
- Policy alignments should be pursued that reduce the administrative burden of providing mental health and substance use disorder services to Coloradans. The time, energy and funds used to address multiple conflicting regulations can be put to better use making and keeping Coloradans healthy.
- We support pay-for-performance systems that hold providers accountable for the healthcare services they deliver. However, we encourage CDHS to create pay-for-performance systems that reward efficient and effective provision of healthcare services instead of withholding contract dollars up-front with a promise of being made whole once services are provided. We also believe those measures should be meaningful (i.e., that they measure things that matter and the data behind them is reliable and statistically valid).
- Support policies and programs that help relieve behavioral health’s workforce issues in Colorado.
The comments were requested from EDs, CFOs & PIOs prior to finalizing these recommendations for CDHS and submitted at: http://form.jotformpro.com/form/41975794642974 on 9/22/14.
Questions and comments can be emailed to Coral Cosway (firstname.lastname@example.org).