Maryland Mental Hygiene Administration and ValueOptions® Aim to Measure and Improve Mental Health Outcomes with New Web-Based Reporting Tool

NORFOLK, Va., Aug. 22, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Maryland Mental Hygiene Administration (MHA) and its Administrative Services Organization, ValueOptions®, have launched a new web-based reporting system to better understand the outcomes of individuals receiving mental health outpatient services. The new tool enables the MHA, ValueOptions and behavioral health care providers to track the progress of consumers and identify specific areas for provider or system of care improvement.

MHA, ValueOptions, and the University of Maryland Systems Evaluation Center (SEC), collaborated to create the web-based Outcomes Measurement System (OMS) to track outcomes of services delivered at outpatient mental health centers throughout the state.  

"At MHA, our vision is to use outcomes data to drive decision making," said Dr. Brian Hepburn, Executive Director of MHA. "The better we can understand outcomes data, the more we can ensure consumers get the most appropriate treatment while managing costs effectively.  In partnering with ValueOptions and the University of Maryland SEC to develop and implement OMS, we have taken a strategic step forward toward making more informed decisions regarding our behavioral health system of care. The OMS places us at the forefront of best practices and we believe it will serve as a model for other states."

With the OMS, state and county administrators, behavioral health care providers and the general public can access a web-based "dashboard" that displays aggregated trends regarding outpatient consumers' progress in various aspects of their lives, such as housing, employment or school, psychiatric symptoms, substance use, overall functioning, legal involvement and physical health.  Users are able to select a variety of analyses, such as time period, geographic region and consumer demographics.

To collect the data, clinicians administer questionnaires to consumers between the ages of 6 and 64 at the beginning of treatment, at six-month intervals, and at discharge. Completion of the questionnaires is necessary for treatment authorization.  The MHA worked with the University of Maryland SEC to develop the OMS questionnaires and data collection process in collaboration with consumers, caregivers, providers and other stakeholders in the mental health system.

To date, providers have submitted over half a million questionnaires, representing responses from over 100,000 adult consumers and over 77,000 children and adolescents. MHA also encourages clinicians to use the OMS interviews in their clinical assessments and treatment planning.

Aggregate Analysis

ValueOptions built the OMS dashboard to display data on an aggregate, rather than a consumer-specific, basis.  For example, a state or county administrator can use aggregate geographic data to identify service needs or to develop a regional system's strategy.

An outpatient clinic can view its own data –either at one location or all locations – to evaluate the effectiveness of programs or services. The OMS dashboard presents outcomes data in both a Point-in-Time (PIT) and Change-Over-Time (COT) format. The PIT analysis, for example, indicates the number of consumers reporting being homeless; whereas the corresponding COT analysis indicates how many consumers reported gaining or losing housing.

Catholic Charities Child and Family Services was one of a handful of providers involved in the design and beta testing for the OMS program. In addition, some 50 of approximately 220 outpatient mental health centers in the state have formed the Community Behavioral Health Association of Maryland. Many of the providers within the association have even agreed to share OMS results with one another to compare outcomes and enable further discussions around best practices.

"Now that providers are able to view their own results on the web, they can compare outcomes for each site to those for the county in which it's located, or outcomes for all their sites to those for the state," said Robert Canosa Ph.D., Director of Community Resources for Catholic Charities Child & Family Services. "The dashboard is very user friendly and we are incorporating OMS results into quarterly outcomes management reviews with our Quality Council.  Moving forward, we are hoping that we will soon be able to evaluate results for various risk categories, such as substance abuse, co-occurring disorders, or frequent hospitalizations to assist with programming design and quality improvement. It's a big plus for our organization."

MHA started collecting data for the OMS statewide in September 2006; and revised the questionnaires and system in September 2009.  The OMS dashboard containing both statewide and county-level data became publicly available beginning in August 2011.  Provider-level OMS data became available to providers, their respective local mental health authorities, and MHA in June 2012.

The Outcomes Measurement System dashboard is accessible through the Maryland Mental Hygiene Administration website ( Additional resources are available on the website, including the child and adult questionnaires, and the OMS interview guide.  

About ValueOptions®

ValueOptions is a health improvement company that serves more than 32 million individuals. On behalf of employers, health plans and government agencies, we manage innovative programs and solutions that directly address the challenges our health care system faces today. A national leader in the fields of mental and emotional wellbeing, recovery and resilience, employee assistance, and wellness, ValueOptions helps people make the difficult life changes needed to be healthier and more productive. With offices nationwide and a network of more than 130,000 provider locations, ValueOptions helps people take important steps in the right direction. We help them live their lives to the fullest potential. Visit  for more information.

About the Mental Hygiene Administration

The Mental Hygiene Administration (MHA) is a part of the Behavioral Health and Disabilities portion of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH.) Partner agencies within DHMH that provide behavioral health and/or disability services are the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Administration and the Developmental Disabilities Administration.  MHA is responsible for the delivery of public mental health services that are provided and funded primarily through a fee-for-services system.

SOURCE ValueOptions