But what is the future for mental health care? Approaches to mental health care have already changed: So the key question is how will this be? More specifically, how will care be formed?
The increasingly important role of managed care companies in behavioral health has perhaps had the greatest impact. Managed behavioral health care developed in response to rising costs associated with rapid growth in the utilization of mental health and substance abuse services in the s and s.
Managed behavioral health care has been a great opportunity for clinical social workers, as their mental health services are increasingly reimbursable.
However, with these opportunities have come various new demands. As a result of the new law and in response to rising costs, clinical social workers in community health centers have faced unprecedented demands in record keeping and billing and have had to assume more responsibility for justifying the need for services.
The need for mental health services can be more subjective than the need for medical services, making these requirements more difficult on mental health providers. In the past, authorizations for mental health visits and outpatient treatment reports most often were either not required or could be completed by individuals not directly involved in the care of health center clients.
After the establishment of the Mental Health Parity Act, authorization for mental health services became a necessity because managed care companies were now required to reimburse for mental health services.
The companies wanted to ensure that treatment was necessary and as efficient as possible. As a result, managed care companies have established stricter requirements on the authorization of mental health visits and are requesting that mental health providers directly report on client progress to the companies before visits are approved.
With the high patient volume in community health center settings and the various requirements established by individual managed care companies, it can be difficult for clinical social workers to incorporate this process into their daily workflow.
Credentialing requirements for clinical social workers are becoming more stringent as managed care companies struggle to cut costs. While mental health parity has increased the amount of reimbursable services provided by clinical social workers, the process by which individual clinical social workers can contract with managed care companies has become more cumbersome.
Additionally, it is becoming more difficult for new clinical social workers to become credentialed, as companies are deciding to credential only highly experienced providers. This trend is becoming progressively more problematic as community health centers are often staffed by new social workers trying to obtain their clinical licensure.
It also causes competition as health centers try to attract and retain providers who already fit credentialing criteria. In doing so, community health centers may lose the opportunity to screen new employees on the basis of their clinical skills rather than their seniority in the profession and will likely lose out on opportunities to hire talented clinicians.
Facing the Challenges Managed care challenges such as these, coupled with the current increased demand for services as a result of the economic recession, have caused clinical social workers in community health center settings to become increasingly overwhelmed with the administrative tasks they must balance with their clinical work.
Social workers who expect to spend their entire work day in patient care find they also need administrative time to complete authorizations and other forms for reimbursement in a timely fashion.
Fortunately, there are options for minimizing these challenges. Clinical social workers can be trained on the documentation required by insurance companies, and they should be encouraged to use the time available from no-show appointment slots to complete their administrative work without cutting into patient care time.
The implementation of electronic health records should be explored as an option due to their ability to streamline the billing process and provide automatic reminders to clinicians when a treatment report or authorization is required.
Community health centers should also seek support to determine the credentialing requirements for each plan so newer social workers can be credentialed whenever possible as they work to gain further clinical experience. Social workers and credentialing specialists can be referred to individual payer websites for information on credentialing and billing requirements.
While these managed care challenges can make day-to-day work difficult, social workers should try to face them directly and view the challenges as new opportunities to advocate for clients and the profession as the ethics and foundation of the profession dictate.
Authorizations for visits and the completion of treatment reports, while cumbersome, are opportunities for social workers to improve the quality of care to the level clients deserve. These reporting documents encourage clinicians to utilize efficient, evidence-based treatments that enable their clients to improve at a quicker pace and terminate treatment sooner.
The reports also provide an opportunity for providers to document the need for long-term treatment for clients with serious and persistent mental illness who sometimes cannot advocate for themselves.The threat to the United States' Academic Health Centers (AHCs) has been reported for the past decade, signified most importantly by the decrease in the perceived value of patient care delivered and a significant reduction in direct payments to physicians in AHCs.
Dr. Sederer's new book for families who have a member with a mental illness is The Family Guide to Mental Health Care (Foreword by Glenn Close).
Health Care in America: Trends in Utilization The National Health Care Survey breaks and tears, to prevent or delay future health care problems, to reduce pain and increase quality of life, and sometimes merely to obtain information about their health status and prognosis. Health care utilization can be appropriate or inappropriate, of high. Arshya Vahabzadeh MD, Chair of Communications at the American Psychiatric Association and faculty at Massachusetts General Hospital, presented his vision in the talk, The Future of Psychiatry, and discussed six new trends that will shape the way mental health is assessed and treated. Home» Posts» Commissioning» Service reconfiguration» The future of mental health care: time for a social perspective? The future of mental health care: time for a social perspective? 1 Response».
Dr. Sederer is a psychiatrist and public health physician. 's most expert wellness trends in healthy food and fitness to non-toxic makeup and birth control, selected by Well+Good editors.
the-clock access to health-care pros—without that. Arshya Vahabzadeh MD, Chair of Communications at the American Psychiatric Association and faculty at Massachusetts General Hospital, presented his vision in the talk, The Future of Psychiatry, and discussed six new trends that will shape the way mental health is assessed and treated.
The future of mental health care ; In the News. The future of mental health care. Posted on May 04 Federal News Radio *NAMI. NAMI's senior polcy counsel Ron Honberg is interviewed about the Congressional debate over heath care and the implications for mental health--and other issues.
• The national mental health market is moving towards a more comprehensive, value-based system of care. Federal This opening section looks at the key U.S. policy issues and national trends in the health care system that are the to the health care system in the short-term future, the system has already been irrevocably shaped by the.