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Nicholas Addison Thomas

Director of Content Marketing for the National Council for Mental Wellbeing

Consulting Corner: Dr. Jeff Capobianco Delivers the Strategy

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When it comes to implementing an integrated care model, there’s a lot know. That’s where Jeff Capobianco, Ph.D., LLP, comes in. With more than 25 years of clinical, administrative and research experience under his health care belt, Dr. Capobianco helps organizations maximize their potential as the National Council’s senior consultant for integrated health. I recently sat down with him to learn more about his expertise, the benefits of integrated care and what fuels him.

NICHOLAS THOMAS: Tell us about yourself. What did you do before the National Council?

JEFF CAPOBIANCO: Happy to! Prior to joining the National Council in 2012, I worked at the University of Michigan School of Social Work as a research investigator, where I still teach as an adjunct faculty member. Prior to working at the University of Michigan, I was the director of a research and new program development department for a behavioral health managed care organization, having moved into that position after many years of work as a clinician and clinical supervisor. In my role as a National Council consultant, I help providers, policymakers and funders across the country develop alternative-payment/value-based approaches to better integrate, measure and cost safety-net health care services. This focus aligns well with the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) model, so I’m currently doing a lot of work in that space.

NT: We’re glad to have you on the team! What are your areas of expertise?

JC: Glad to be here! My work focuses on developing sustainable, efficient and effective approaches to health care integration. My expertise is in evidence-based practice implementation, Lean Six Sigma methodologies and learning community approaches to organizational change. I bring to my role a background in strategic planning to design and implement primary, substance use disorder and mental health care integration models for children and adults.

NT: How would you describe your consulting style?

JC: The clients I work with are very busy. The challenges they have result from having to operate in a very complex and underfunded U.S. health care system. Additionally, the people they serve typically have multiple chronic physical and behavioral health conditions, as well as social determinant needs. It is important that I understand, from my client’s perspective, what’s working and what keeps them up at night. I am privileged to work with organizations across the country, so I get to share my experiences working with providers who have struggled with and overcame similar challenges – and then couple that with the latest research – to design and execute a realistic plan for addressing their needs.

NT: What’s it like being a consultant for the National Council?

JC: The National Council is an exciting place to work because there are so many resources, including colleagues with expertise in policy and implementation science, that I can access to help my clients address the biggest health care challenges of our time!

NT: What are some obstacles providers face when pursuing an integrated care model?

JC: Integration is a big concept. To really do it well, you have to first define your terms. What are you talking about when you say integration? What does it look when it is done well? How do you measure its impact, staff it, fund it, etc.? Once you can describe exactly what integration looks like for your agency, you will know where you want to go. Next, you have to understand where you stand in relation to this destination, so you can build a plan, gather the resources to execute that plan and get to work. It’s a privilege to join clients throughout this process!

NT: It sounds like it! What’s something about your work that you really enjoy?

JC: I get excited about helping organizations define their value proposition and link it to the payment needed to continue to deliver on that value. Most people, including policymakers and funders, don’t understand fully the value safety-net behavioral health care providers contribute to their clients and society at large. Helping providers define the impact of their services helps them explain to policymakers and payers why appropriately funding behavioral health providers is in everyone’s best interest.

NT: What do you like to do when you’re not working?

JC: I enjoy spending time with my family, kayaking and skiing. I enjoy long-form interview podcasts and audio books on business, science and meditation. I also started learning the guitar a few months back. I’m a long-time meditator and find playing the guitar to be a great form of meditation.

NT: Can you sing us your favorite song using your newfound guitar skills?

JC: “ … ”

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