Jan. 25, 2013 OHA Director's messages on the web
To: All OHA employees
From: Bruce Goldberg, M.D., Director

Keeping our promises

"Engage the end user in the design process. (Don't) just ask him what he needs, but ask him how he thinks it can be achieved."
~Amos Winter

In this message I often share the great work happening across the state to improve health care through coordinated care organizations. And as you may recall, we kicked off 2013 with an all-staff webinar that laid out milestones for 2013.

One of our goals this year is to deal with a set of outdated rules that were hampering communities in their ability to effectively integrate physical and behavioral health.

In response, our Addictions and Mental Health division (AMH) brought together a workgroup with representatives from coordinated care organizations, community mental health programs and service providers. Their mission was to examine the Integrated Services and Supports Rule (ISSR) and streamline it so providers can spend less time cutting through red tape and more time helping people get well.

Earlier this week, I received a report from this workgroup, which reached consensus on a wide variety of issues that are going to make work easier for our providers and care better for our clients. This group has a long list of accomplishments. The one that best exemplifies its work is a way to reduce the paperwork required when a provider first sees a client by eliminating 80 percent of the required screenings that do little to improve health. Clients will receive services sooner and providers will have lower administrative costs. That means better care at a lower cost. You can see the full list of recommendations from the workgroup here. Look for the "Integrated Services and Supports Rule – 2012 Revision Workgroup Report."

The workgroup brought incredible thoughtfulness and enthusiasm to its charge. And I'm happy to report that I am starting to hear from CCOs that the changes in these rules will help them serve clients better.

But we cannot yet stop and celebrate. This was a great start, but there is still more to be done. The group identified additional issues, but they were on a short deadline and did not have the time to fix them.

That's why I am so pleased that the workgroup will keep going. The workgroup has recommended a second and third phase in which it will explore opportunities to further streamline processes and remove barriers to integrating physical and behavior health care. Among the key tasks will be streamlining the certification and licensing processes.

We need to do all we can, as quickly as we can to break through requirements and red tape that impede our efforts to improve health and create a better health care system. I will do all I can to expedite the work of this group so it can get things completed in the next three months or less.

I want to thank members of the workgroup for their service – and our staff who helped make these changes happen. I am confident that they will continue to drive change and improvements in the months to come.

This is a fantastic start to 2013.

OHA on the web