Health Innovations                                                                                          June 2017
Why integration matters

The Colorado State Innovation Model (SIM) team continues to spread the word about the importance of integrating behavioral and physical health at multiple conferences across the state. We’ve been sharing stories of success from the first cohort of practices, trumpeting the strong number (225) of applicants for the second cohort and talking about how skills gained through SIM will help providers build sustainable programs. We’ve been bolstered by stories of success that were shared during two Collaborative Learning Sessions that were hosted by our partners at the University of Colorado Department of Family Medicine earlier this month and are preparing for two more in Grand Junction later this week. Follow us on social channels (listed at the bottom of the newsletter) for photos from these events and regular updates from SIM, an initiative funded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. 

Our goal, as many of you know, is unique. Colorado was the only state awarded SIM funding to pick the integration of behavioral and physical health with public and private payers (health plans) as its primary goal. We are proud of this ambitious goal, which helps providers deliver “whole-person care” that addresses all aspects of health so they succeed in value-based payment models. Learn more about the levels of integrated care and click here for a list of cohort-1 practices engaged in this important work.

SIM helps fund suicide prevention efforts

About 800 people attended a Suicide Prevention Community Summit May 11 that was partially funded by SIM. Goals for the summit, which was hosted by San Juan Basin Public Health in Durango, included raising awareness about how to help someone who is contemplating suicide and gaining feedback on local strengths, weaknesses, and unmet needs related to mental health and wellness. Learn more.

Role reversal: Providers, health plans gain new perspectives
The second SIM Multi-Stakeholder Symposium on May 18 drew about 50 SIM providers as well as representatives from health plans and practice transformation organizations. The meeting, which was held in Denver, focused on collaboration and communication with a twist: Attendees assumed different roles — health plan representatives played providers (and vice versa) during scenarios drafted to illustrate some of the common challenges to integrating behavioral and physical health.  Click here for photos of the event and more information .
TCPi empowers doctors to make meaningful change
Clinicians frequently struggle to find their way through the healthcare acronym maze. Hear one physician talk about how the Transforming Clinical Practices Initiative, a federally funded program, has helped her prepare for value-based payment models in the latest episode of our Innovation Insights podcast.

SIM cohort 2 demographics

A total of 225 practices that represent a wide range of practice types applied for cohort-2 as illustrated in this graph. The SIM team will soon publish a list of the practices that are accepted into this second cohort, which will start its work to integrate behavioral and physical health in primary care settings late this summer or early fall. Click here to learn more about the levels of integrated care and see where cohort-1 practices stand.

SIM small grants fuel practice transformation

During a two-year period, 47 SIM cohort-1 practices will receive up to $40,000 each to support practice integration goals. We will feature small grant recipients in this newsletter to highlight successes and challenges. The first in this series focuses on hiring behavioral health clinicians.  Read more.

Governor signs Senate Bill 207 into law
Passage of Senate Bill 207, which recognizes that mental health centers are more appropriate settings for Coloradans in crisis than prison, strengthened the state’s behavioral health crisis system. The legislation provides additional resources for these facilities for mobile response teams and transportation, an important priority in rural Colorado. 
New resources for maternal mental health
Depression is the most common complication of pregnancy for mothers in Colorado and nationwide, according to research. To address this issue, the SIM initiative includes a pregnancy-related depression screen in its clinical quality measures, and is continually learning from local partners and subject matter experts. A new Maternal Mental Health Referral Guidance tool, developed by the Maternal Mental Health Referral Workgroup convened by the Maternal Child Health Program within Denver Public Health, includes guidance about screenings, key questions to consider when making referrals and suggestions for ways to keep providers in the loop once a patient has been referred to a specialist. The tool is available online and may be adapted for use in any community. Contact Kelly Stainback-Tracy with questions or requests for training.
Suggested reading
The Mental Health Youth Action Board was created by Children’s Hospital to address a wave of young people under stress. Read about how 6 teens are helping the hospital address teenage mental health struggles.
Many of the national policy discussions today are focused on who will be covered and the scope of benefits consumers will receive. Unfortunately, as important as these issues are, neither of them in any way addresses the underlying issues of high health care costs and the highly variable quality of care in the United States. To foster sustainable reform, we need to focus on promoting high-value care, which means we need to address not only insurance coverage but also reform of the delivery system. 
The community health center (CHC) program, which now includes more than 1,400 organizations and provides primary care services for more than 24.3 million low-income individuals in the United States, has been a success. Despite substantial overall support for CHCs, however, some experts, including the National Association of State Medicaid Directors and the National Governors Association, have begun calling for changes in how health centers are reimbursed.