Behavioral Health System Reform | MAMH

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MAMH is working with its partners on several reform initiatives, gathering and analyzing data on program innovations and change strategies to forge consensus and build alliances for public and private sector behavioral health care reform in the Commonwealth.

In the past year, the BCBSMA Foundation has commissioned some timely and critical work to increase understanding of the behavioral health care system in Massachusetts. In July 2017, the Foundation released a primer entitled, “Access to Behavioral Health Care in Massachusetts: The Basics.” Developed by Abt Associates, this resources provides information on the regulation and public funding of mental health and substance misuse services in the Commonwealth; a timeline of state and national policy changes affecting access to behavioral health care; data on the prevalence of mental health, substance use and co-occurring conditions in the Commonwealth; and an analysis of four primary factors affecting access to care in the Commonwealth: workforce capacity, system capacity, affordability and quality.

Just a few months later, the BCSBMA Foundation hosted an event, “Access to Outpatient Mental Health Services in MA: Research Results & Promising Practices,” bringing together over 100 stakeholders representing state government, consumer advocates, providers, payers and the research community. The event featured opening remarks by Marylou Sudders, Secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, and the release of a series of reports describing the results of a comprehensive mixed-methods study conducted by Abt Associates. The reports shed light on wait times for outpatient mental health office visits in Massachusetts, the experiences of clients seeking appointments with different insurance types and across distinct geographic regions, and facilitators and barriers to accessing mental health services. MAMH served as an advisor during the research and analysis stages of report development, and facilitated a panel discussion at the event in reaction to the findings. This work lays the groundwork for future efforts driving toward behavioral health care system solutions.

The BCBSMA Foundation, drawing on its long history as an independent and credible source of research and policy analysis and experience as a neutral convener, will continue to conduct environmental analyses and build consensus for programmatic and policy solutions. MAMH and our partners are proud to support the Foundation, leveraging our experience, expertise and strategic alliances for change.