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Daisy Wheeler

Director of Addictions

8 Resolutions to Plan for Change

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I’m a planner. As the year end approaches, you may, like me, already be thinking about your 2016 resolutions. Many of us strive to do better each year in our service to others or to focus on our health — and planning is the most likely pathway to fully realize and achieve our goals. As I’m building my 2016 goals, I consider how I will balance the needs of my new baby, marriage and long-term career objectives. I’m forced to innovate and adapt to meet some new and unfamiliar demands.

Sound familiar? The past few years have brought major changes to how health care is delivered and paid for in the United States. Millions of people are now eligible for health insurance that covers prevention, treatment and recovery support services for mental illness and addictions. With the increasing demand for services, behavioral health providers also face new pressures to expand service capacity and payer sources.

In my work with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s BHbusiness Plus program, I’ve seen struggling, but motivated providers work with our coaches to identify and achieve goals for operationalizing their commitment to serving vulnerable populations and expanding their service capacity. Through self-paced online courses and four month learning networks, behavioral health providers learn how to align their practices with contemporary payment and financing models. More than 3,000 behavioral health organizations have used BHbusiness resources to create or improve their billing processes to generate substantial new revenues, obtain insurance coverage for previously uninsured clients, increase contracts with third party payors, decrease claim denial rates and reduce client no-show rates.

If your plans for 2016 include a commitment to ensuring your organization is prepared for change, then here are eight potential resolutions you can set (and how BHbusiness can help you keep them).

  1. Revisit your strategic vision. Either join a learning network or take a self-paced course in strategic business decision making.
  2. Define your unique value. Learn how to articulate your agency’s value to a variety of stakeholders with our third party contracts and negotiations self-paced course.
  3. Know your worth. Get a solid understanding of the true cost of providing your services in our costing learning network so you can budget correctly and negotiate better rates with payors.
  4. Set up new programs or services. Explore the viability of new opportunities in a new business planning learning network.
  5. Update your billing process. Learn the steps to take to set up a third party billing system or make your billing process more efficient in a learning network on improving billing systems to increase collections and compliance.
  6. Increase and strengthen your partnerships. Explore how a new partnership may help you improve your existing services or allow you to offer a new evidence-based program in a learning network focused on mergers, affiliations and acquisitions.
  7. Take advantage of the latest technology. Check out our self-paced course on preparing for the next generation in HIT to learn how to assess and implement updated technology.
  8. Expand your capacity. Help people in your community to access quality behavioral health care in an eligibility and enrollment self-paced course or learning network.

This kind of concrete assistance to behavioral health leaders is a crucial effort that helps save lives. You might reflect on some of the lessons learned from failed efforts decades ago to transition people from institutions into community based care. While hospitals closed, communities failed to adequately reinvest into community based treatment organizations to take on the increased demand for services in communities. As a result, many organizations dedicated to serving people with mental illness closed, leaving people with little to no options to access treatment in their community. As we now undergo a new type of massive transition, in the form of new service financing models, we must avoid a repeat of past disasters. As new health systems and hospitals begin to explore offering behavioral health services, specialty providers must work to define their value and niche in serving a critical role for people with mental illness or addiction.

How are you adjusting to the latest changes in health care? How are you planning to meet unfamiliar demands? Most importantly, how can we help you navigate these changes?

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