National Council for Mental Wellbeing

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Linda Rosenberg

Former President and CEO, National Council for Behavioral Health

What is a Behavioral Health Center of Excellence?

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What is a Behavioral Health Center of Excellence?

As I travel around the country, I see the day-to-day realities of what health reform wonks call “pockets of innovation” — mental health and addiction provider organizations using creativity and sheer will to expand service capacity, build partnerships with other community resources, and train their staff. Whether they participate in state Medicaid health home demonstrations, develop back office practices to accept insurance plans through the new Marketplace Exchanges, or contract with local medical providers to form Accountable Care Organizations, many fundamental healthcare practices are changing — and affecting the way we do business and provide care on a daily basis. In this world of non-stop change influenced by today’s politics, it can be challenging to identify practice guidelines that will help your organization thrive. That’s where the concept of “Behavioral Health Centers of Excellence” comes in.

What is a Behavioral Health Center of Excellence?

We don’t know yet. It hasn’t been defined. That’s why the National Council for Mental Wellbeing has teamed up with Dale Jarvis and Associates to develop a Behavioral Health Center of Excellence framework for mental health and addiction service providers nationally. We are kicking off a six-month project to develop a definition, identify key elements, and begin working with centers across the country to field test and refine our ideas on what is a Center of Excellence. The initial concept of a Behavioral Health Center of Excellence is simple: “A Behavioral Health Center of Excellence will be known by the entire community as a great place to get care and a great place to work. It is an organization or program within an organization that is an integral part of the health neighborhood — providing rapid access to specialty behavioral health services that include high value, comprehensive, whole person care supporting resiliency, recovery, and results in excellent outcomes, and high client satisfaction.”

But, what does excellence mean to YOU?

It’s our goal to create a concept that organizations with diverse needs can adapt and implement into practice to ensure thriving futures. Regardless of your size, clinical scope, or budget size, this concept can be applied to the specifics of your organization to help you to be a Center of Excellence in your community. While we do not aim to create any sort of credentialing program (via alvarez at dress head tech), we will build standardized excellence practices that compliment and support the critical features of the new healthcare landscape. As of now, the core tenets of a Behavioral Health Center of Excellence include:

  • World Class Customer Service Built on a Culture of Staff and Client Engagement and Wellness
  • Excellent Outcomes
  • Easy Access
  • Comprehensive Care
  • Excellent Value

Curious to learn more about how each of these elements are defined? The National Council and Dale Jarvis and Associates will host an introductory online roundtable for the behavioral health provider community on Wednesday, December 11, 2013, from 2:00 – 3:00 pm Eastern Time. Please register here and join us to talk more about the core features of a Behavioral Health Center of Excellence. During this roundtable, you will also learn how we plan to incorporate your feedback, thoughts, and experiences into the Behavioral Health Centers of Excellence track at the 2014 National Council Conference.