Jun 11, 2020

Better mental health outcomes and more efficient treatment goal of new $422K behavioral health quality grant awarded to Newport Mental Health from Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island

PROVIDENCE, RI (June 11, 2020) – Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) has awarded Newport Mental Health (NMH) a Behavioral Health Quality Grant to help the practice better anticipate patient needs and close gaps in care. The $422,000 grant will help launch NMH’s new electronic health record (EHR) program, including the addition of a population data analyst, to better analyze emerging trends and problems, integrate multiple sources of data, and prioritize goals for addressing those needs.

Mental disorders are arguably the greatest ‘hidden’ burden of ill health, with substantial long-term impacts on individuals, careers and society. People with these conditions are often socially excluded and often do not receive the services they need, and when they do, many do not receive adequate follow-up,” said Jamie Lehane, Newport Mental Health president and CEO. “Data science offers an unprecedented opportunity not only for more robust diagnostics, but also the prediction of outcome, treatment response, and patient preferences to inform interventions. Even slight improvements on mental healthcare provision and management could generate solid benefits to the health and life expectancy of people with mental illness and in the reduction of healthcare costs”.

This support comes as part of BCBSRI’s new Behavioral Health Quality Grant program, which was launched to assist behavioral health providers in transitioning to a population health model that includes elements like screening, progress tracking and outcomes reporting. Recognizing the challenges in implementing effective population health management and reporting strategies within a behavioral health practice, BCBSRI is hoping to ease the transition for Rhode Island providers as part of the company’s commitment to promoting access to high-quality, cost-effective behavioral healthcare. Newport Mental Health is the first behavioral health provider to receive a grant from the BCBSRI program.

“We are encouraged by Newport Mental Health’s proactive approach in analyzing available data to discover what’s most effective when it comes to behavioral healthcare treatments,” said Sarah Fleury, LICSW, CPHQ, BCBSRI manager of behavioral health. “This type of value-based care and collaboration improves patient care and reduces the burden on the healthcare system, and we are proud to support it.”

Newport Mental Health is one of the founders of Horizon Health Partners (HHP), a community-based, statewide, comprehensive service network of non-profit mental health organizations in Rhode Island. All of HHP will utilize the new EHR system, but BCBSRI’s grant will additionally allow for NMH’s combined analysis of aggregate data across HHP agencies and interoperability of real time client information. 

Data analytics from NMH’s new initiative will be used to not only inform primary care and mental health interventions, but also community interventions as they begin to better understand patterns of chronic disease, social determinants of health, and community resources and services. For example, NMH’s data could identify a high prevalence of depression and poor eating habits among elderly women with residential and social isolation. Equipped with that data, community planners could then develop recreational and nutritional outreach programs.

In the future, the program has implications far beyond the patient population served by NMH providers. HHP partners have an additional 110 providers who plan to also utilize this population health data to improve care coordination and better manage the needs of a significant population of patients statewide.

To learn more about Newport Mental Health, please visit newportmentalhealth.org. To learn more about how BCBSRI supports the behavioral health of Rhode Islanders, please visit bcbsri.com/individual/member/mentalhealth.

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