New collaborative promotes coordination between physical and mental health

A new collaborative in New Jersey aims to close the loop for high-risk patients in the state by integrating physical, behavioral, and addiction treatments and services, NJSpotlight reports.

The Good Care Collaborative is a new coalition of healthcare providers and policy experts coordinated by the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, a 12-year-old organization known for using data to target healthcare toward patients who can most benefit from it. To promote the benefits of the coordinated, evidence-based model to integrating services, the group is conducting a series of site visits to facilities succeeding with this approach.

Not only will the collaborative offer models that other organizations can emulate throughout New Jersey, it will also provide lessons for private insurers outside of the Medicaid program, according to Linda J. Schwimmer, vice president of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute.

"The fact that we've bifurcated the way we pay for physical health and behavioral health has really set us back," Schwimmer told NJ Spotlight.

Mark Humowiecki, Camden Coalition's legal counsel and director of governmental affairs, said the collaborative is "very interested in building a constituency for good Medicaid policy." In addition, he said, the collaborative wants to "elevate the discussion" of what Medicaid-funded program should look like by focusing on programs that provide high-quality, community-based services.

The collaborative has invited healthcare leaders to visit one such initiative, the Program of Assertive Community Treatment (PACT), later this month. PACT, developed in Wisconsin in the 1960s, "is really a model for helping people who used to be in state mental institutions who are now coming out into the community, helping them to live and function in the community," Humowiecki said.

To learn more:
- read the article from NJ Spotlight

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