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Adam Swanson

Senior Policy Associate, National Council for Behavioral Health

Online Training Courses Help Behavioral Health Providers Learn Critical Business Skills

November 7, 2013 | Uncategorized | Comments
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As healthcare insurance options are set to expand in every state in 2014 – making an additional 30 million people eligible for coverage – behavioral health service providers need the business operation skills to expand capacity while remaining profitable. In order to help providers gain and enhance their abilities, SAMHSA has developed a national, online business course tailored for mental health and substance abuse providers. BHbusiness: Mastering Essential Business Operations consists of five course options: Strategic Business Planning, Third-party Billing and Compliance, Eligibility and Enrollment, Third-party Contract Negotiation, and Meaningful Use of Healthcare Technology.

“There’s absolutely no question that participating in the BHbusiness learning network will help us accommodate the anticipated increase in clients eligible for treatment,” said Katy Lewis, Director of Standards and Certification, Shawnee Mental Health Center, and participant in a BHbusiness learning network on third-party billing and compliance, referring to expanding healthcare coverage.

The program is initiated with dedicated coaching, peer networking, and access to an extensive set of resources. While providers may apply as an individual, they are encouraged to apply as a group or under the auspices of a convening organization such as an association, Single State Agency, or Addiction Technology Transfer Center. Once accepted, participants are grouped into learning networks – a group of carefully matched organizations – with a dedicated coach, convener, and the flexibility to follow the curriculum at their own pace. One of the biggest reported benefits of the program is BHbusiness’ online learning platform, which cultivates communication with coaching staff and peers, allowing providers to learn best industry practices from experts and from each other.

Mohini Venkatesh, Vice President of Practice Improvement at the National Council, agreed. “One of the challenges we have with technical assistance is making sure recipients are sustainably implementing practices that will live well beyond the consultation,” she said. “Learning networks really facilitate that, because the way they’re structured helps cultivate communication.”

Courses are funded by SAMHSA and provided to participants at no cost. BHbusiness is led by State Associations of Addiction Services in partnership with the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, NIATx, and Advocates for Human Potential.

The deadline for application is December 16, 2013, though a few slots for early enrollers remain. Apply now at


Share on your social media: Want to innovate your behavioral health organization? @SAMHSAgov’s BHbusiness program is now accepting applications!