NASHO Advocates Coordination To Improve Mental Health Care

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The National Association of Specialty Health Organizations urges improved coordination of care for individuals with mental health and substance use disorders.

NASHO's members represent provider networks, payors and health plans that specialize in dental, vision, behavioral health, pharmacy benefit management, radiology, complementary care, device management, and other specialty services. The NASHO statement encourages members, purchasers, providers, and other stakeholders to enhance coverage and coordination of care to improve outcomes and quality.

"People with mental health and substance use disorders have complex needs and rely on many organizations to deliver their care. We believe current legislative initiatives in Congress should recognize that coordination of services and information is a critical element of effective policy," said NASHO Executive Director Julian Roberts. "NASHO members include behavioral health care organizations, pharmacy benefit managers, and other national organizations with unique expertise to provide efficient and high quality specialty services. They are committed to taking on the cross cutting needs of individuals with mental health and substance problems."

The NASHO statement addresses the following key areas:

-- Benefits for identification and treatment of mental health and substance use disorders;

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-- Coverage for evidence-based screening, treatment and coordination of care for mental and substance use conditions, including medications;

-- The need for HIPAA-compliant data linkages that enable sharing of appropriate information related to medication, treatment, and transitions of care;

-- Mechanisms to promote patient adherence and medication safety for individuals with mental and substance use conditions;

-- Need for coordination of care for patients making transitions between settings;

-- Need for improved performance measurement strategies to capture information on behavioral health services provided in diverse settings.

Michele Alfano, a member of the NASHO Board of Directors and Chief Operating Officer of ValueOptions, Inc., commented, "NASHO is in a unique position to bring together many of the participants who have a role in delivering quality care to individuals with mental health disorders. This policy statement acknowledges the need to coordinate provider services, medications, and information. Further, the statement recognizes that diverse and specialized strategies are needed to administer care and manage information for this multifaceted population."

Concludes Roberts, "NASHO's mission is to increase awareness of the value that specialty health organizations bring to health care. We believe that specialty health brings efficiency and high quality to the table. These services are most effective when data and information are closely coordinated. This statement illustrates our vision for improved mental health and addiction care."

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