Press Releases: Healthcare Organizations in New York Focus on Offering Integrated Mental and Physical Health Services for the Elderly
National Council Chosen to Provide Technical Assistance and Build Sustainability
To speak with program experts and grantees, contact Meena Dayak,
Representatives from select healthcare organizations are convening a panel at the Geriatric Mental Health Alliance of New York’s conference in Albany on Monday, May 14, to discuss challenges and lessons learned in providing integrated healthcare for older adults. The organizations received grants under the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) demonstration programs for Integrated Physical and Behavioral Health Care for the Elderly. Experts from the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare (National Council), chosen by OMH to operate the Geriatric Technical Assistance Center (G-TAC) to support the demonstration programs, will moderate the panel.
The G-TAC supports implementation of demonstration programs to offer integrated mental and physical healthcare.
“The elderly are a vulnerable population and not able to navigate care from multiple providers. The safety net must offer coordinated care, whichever door they choose to enter through,” said Linda Rosenberg, President and CEO, National Council. “We commend New York’s commitment to serving this population and are proud to have been chosen as their technical assistance center.”
An OMH press release states that “The National Council is the nationally recognized leader in bidirectional integration with extensive experience and expertise running the country's only national integration technical assistance center, the SAMHSA-HRSA Center for Integrated Health Solutions. The team that the National Council has assembled for the G-TAC will provide demonstration programs with an unparalleled opportunity to work with the top experts in the country in the areas of geriatrics, integration, revenue optimization, and healthcare reform.”
“We can’t address the mental health needs of the seniors who use our services if we ignore the impact of physical health conditions on their lives.. The demonstration program has enabled us to explore the best way to integrate services and provide better coordinated healthcare,” said Michael Stoltz, Executive Director, Clubhouse of Suffolk — one of the demonstration program grantees.
Older adults’ health issues are unique in the way they manifest and in the way patients use services.
Like most of the country, New York state is on the verge of an “elder boom” and expects to see a 50 percent increase in the number of older adults by the year 2030. The number of older adults with mental illness in the United States in the state is expected to increase by 56 percent, from 495,000 in 2000 to 772,000 people in 2030. In the U.S., the number of older adults with mental illness is expected to double between 2000 and 2030.
In New York, this dramatic increase in the number of older adults in need of mental health services raised concerns about the ability of health, mental health, and aging services to provide adequate access to services that respond to the unique needs of older adults in a coordinated way. More than half of older people receive mental health care from their primary care physicians. Treatment in a primary care setting offers convenience, improved coordination of mental and medical disorders, and decreased stigma.
In response to the unique needs among older adults, OMH funded a series of demonstration programs for organizations to develop integrated primary and behavioral healthcare services for adults 55 years and older. Grantee organizations have focused on coordinating medical and mental services for older adults, whether they seek services in primary or behavioral health settings.
The National Council G-TAC helps grantee organizations prepare — organizationally and financially — to sustain the integrated care programs beyond the grant period. The center works with grantees to ensure that they are implementing a program that actually works for their patients and staff and results in improved outcomes. National Council experts help organizations with patient engagement, workflow efficiencies, and understanding billing policies and procedures.
The National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) association of 1,950 behavioral healthcare organizations that provide treatment and rehabilitation for mental illnesses and addictions disorders to eight million adults, children and families in communities across the country. The National Council and its members bear testimony to the fact that medical, social, psychological, and rehabilitation services offered in community settings help people with mental illnesses and addiction disorders recover and lead productive lives.