Name: Michael Stoltz
Title: Chief Executive Officer
Organization: Association for Mental Health and Wellness
Focus or Specialty: Mental health issues Number of Practitioners in Organization: 125 staff members including professionals, paraprofessionals and peers
Please give us a summary of your organization:
The Association for Mental Health and Wellness is an organization offering services that address mental health issues. We have statewide and national affiliations and are one of 28 chapters of Mental Health Association (MHA) in NY State.
Our mission is to empower people and communities to pursue and sustain enriched, healthy, and self-directed lives.
Who does your organization serve?
We provide a range of mental health access to care and psychiatric rehabilitation and support services including care management to Suffolk County residents. A focus in the PPS is care management where right now we're actively serving 1,100 people, but can provide services to 1,700 at any time. The people we serve are those who live with two or more chronic health conditions or a serious mental health condition.
Why did you choose to participate as a PPS as part of DSRIP?
People with mental health challenges used to be viewed only from the neck up. In the past there was a widespread belief that mental health and physical health were separate. We now know that's not true. A person's mental health state is often linked to his or her physical health, which means that people with chronic health conditions may need mental health care management to help them follow through with their medical care.
DSRIP emphasizes the relationship between physical and mental health. So it was important for us, as a predominantly mental health agency, to be part of an initiative that addressed the physical and mental challenges of health at the same time.
On which DSRIP project(s) will you be working?
We are involved in several project areas:
Project 2.a.i: Create an integrated delivery system
Project 2.b.iv: Care transitions intervention model to reduce 30-day readmissions
Project 2.d.i: Implementation of Patient and Community Activation Activities to Engage, Educate, and Integrate the uninsured and low/non-utilizing Medicaid populations into Community based care
Project 3.a.i: Integration of primary care services and behavioral health
Project 4.a.ii: Prevent Substance abuse and other Mental/Emotional Behavioral Disorders
In addition to workgroups for the above, we are also represented on the SCC Board of Directors and on the SCC Information Technology workgroup.
What do you hope the DSRIP program will accomplish for your organization in the future?
We're very proud of our wide range of services, which include Care Management and Specialty Care, and hope that the PPS will recognize our strengths and see us as a key part of the services of the network. We're also looking forward to partnering with Community Based Organizations to extend the reach of our services. We're proud to be an innovative organization and pleased to see that DSRIP offers opportunities for innovation as well.
What do you hope the DSRIP program will accomplish in general?
Reduced hospitalization and reduced emergency room usage. We'd like to see a seamless network of care and support for everyone within Suffolk County, regardless of ability to pay.
As healthcare reimbursement changes, hospitals, health systems and providers must adapt to a new paradigm in which providers are rewarded for meeting quality objectives for their patient populations. The emphasis is clearly shifting from volume to value and organizations that focus on providing patient-centered, quality health care across a population will come out ahead. How has your organization begun to experience this shift?
The shift started for us before the DSRIP initiative and even predates the governor's Medicaid redesign. We knew that we needed to be able to quantify our value, both financially and to be able to bundle services in a way that was more responsive to people looking for mental health services. We started the process of shifting to value-based care about five years ago so we're already well positioned to work in this environment.
DSRIP's purpose is to fundamentally restructure the health care delivery system by reinvesting in the Medicaid program, with the primary goal of reducing avoidable hospital use by 25% over five years. How do you envision your organization adapting/evolving to meet the needs of this health care delivery model shift?
There are several ways. One is through the broad use of peers who have dealt with or are dealing with similar health issues, and through community health workers. There are many pockets throughout the county where people don't have ready access to care. These liaisons can help people by reaching out to them where they live and helping them to overcome their barriers to creating and sustaining healthy lifestyles. For example, people with serious mental illness have a high rate of smoking and, as a result, can have a life that's shortened by 20 years. We have an approach that uses smoke-free people to help smokers reduce their use of tobacco.
Another is by using emerging technology to strengthen our engagement with people. We happen to already use the same electronic health record system as Stony Brook Medicine but other technologies including those that reach and engage our clients are exciting.
What in your experience are the top three guiding principles of a successful population health management program?
Shared technology, a commitment to behavioral health integration, and engagement through partnerships of institutional care and community-based organizations.
What value does the Suffolk Care Collaborative bring to patients under the DSRIP program?
Stony Brook is the hub for tertiary care in Suffolk County. Bringing that to DSRIP is huge.
As a pilot partner in the launch of Project 2.d.i for the Suffolk PPS, how has your involvement in the program development gone thus far?
It's been fascinating and challenging. It's creative in terms of reaching people who are uninsured or low utilizers - who touch the system only for emergency care - and engaging, educating and integrating them into community based care. We're looking forward to getting them to activate and take better care of themselves physically, mentally and emotionally.
We are still in the planning stages, but conceptually ready to go. There are still some administrative issues to resolve but we're making progress. Hopefully within a month we will be starting the pilot.
How do you see this project making an impact on our communities, workforce and population we serve?
For people who live with chronic health conditions, and struggle to follow through with medical care or who end up in emergency rooms, this project has the potential to make a huge difference in their lives. We can help them with their health, educate them, help to eradicate the stigma of mental health, and make sure they get the care they need.