Ohio Behavioral Health Redesign

As states approach new requirements and mandates, Foothold Technology works with its partners and customers to make sure the power and flexibility of AWARDS, our web-based electronic record for human services providers, is being used at its full potential, especially in times of change. We also know collaboration is a key component when it comes to managing change. That’s why, thanks to our partnership with the Ohio Children’s Alliance and their valuable input on some of our educational webinars, we’ve enjoyed learning with and learning from Ohio providers. We thank Ohio Children’s Alliance for its leadership and we’d like to share the latest updates from its CEO below.

As July 1 Implementation Date Approaches, Ohio Children’s Alliance See BH Redesign, Transition to Managed Care as Historic Opportunity

By Mark Mecum, CEO, Ohio Children’s Alliance

Ohio’s BH Re-Design is historic. It may be the most transformative initiative that our membership has experienced during our 45-year history. Despite its complexity and challenges, we are optimistic that the BH Re-Design will improve providers’ abilities to meet the needs of Ohioans. With continual advocacy and leadership, the transition to managed care in July can be successful too.

Over the past three years, we helped the State craft the reforms wisely, and we proactively prepared our members for the changes. We helped craft the Re-Design menu, service definitions and the state’s approach to technical assistance. We participate on the State’s Re-Design workgroup which enables us to provide advice and input into all of the stages of Re-Design planning and implementation. Together with our association partners, chiefly the Public Children Services Association of Ohio and the Ohio Council of Behavioral Health and Family Services Providers, we also led constructive advocacy efforts with the state departments and Legislature which produced additional funding and a better implementation plan.

To support provider readiness, we first focused on managed care. In 2014, we commissioned two studies to identify what it takes for providers to be successful in a competitive managed care environment. We used those findings to build a training program for our members, which was led by some of the brightest people in the sector: David Lloyd, David Swann, Michael Flora, Gary Humble, and Mary Thornton. We provided opportunities for peer learning that included symposium events, monthly membership meetings and a learning community facilitated by Vorys Health Care Advisors. Managed care representatives were incredibly helpful to our learning process. Recently, OhioMHAS provided us a grant to expand our readiness program. We added middle management leadership development, same-day access and revenue cycle management to our menu of supportive services.

Starting in 2017, we began preparing our members for the Re-Design. Peer learning has been the most successful strategy — simply organizing venues for agency leaders to ask questions to their peers and learn best practices. With financial support from OhioMHAS, we organized trainings on coding and documentation. Leveraging expertise from Diane Zucker, we also developed a comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions database to assist our members with coding and billing.

Throughout these past three years, our association came to realize that there is a missing piece in the emerging managed care business environment. There were not platforms for providers to band together, establish efficiencies or leverage economies of scale to advance their missions. Our association decided to fill that void by creating the Child and Family Health Collaborative of Ohio. During our first year, the Collaborative is quickly producing value for its 37 participating organizations. We developed incentive agreements with health plans that reward improved health outcomes, we are securing group provider contracts with health plans and we created our own practitioner credentialing program. The Collaborative has also taken on management of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Bridges program for youth who age out of foster care. These activities have advanced our members’ capabilities and relevance.

Collaboration can be a great strategy for providers to use to advance their missions in Ohio’s quickly changing behavioral health care environment. It is also a wise strategy for state government to employ as it designs and plans system reforms. We are proud of our history of collaboration with OhioMHAS and look forward to finding more opportunities to collaborate with Ohio’s next Governor and Administration. There’s a lot of work to be done.

This article was originally posted in the OhioMHAS e-update for May 2018.