New Jersey’s Good Care Collaborative Conference to explore barriers and opportunities for behavioral health integration

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On May 10th, the Good Care Collaborative (GCC) will hold its second annual conference, Envisioning the Future: Behavioral Health in New Jersey, in Trenton, NJ.

In NJ, research shows nearly 15 percent of the adult population has a mental illness and approximately 3 percent of the population, or 260,000, have a severe mental illness. The most recent Rutgers report on Medicaid high-utilizers identified that 86 percent of NJ Medicaid high utilizers have mental health diagnoses.

Despite the desperate need for access to behavioral health services, access is challenging in large part because behavioral health and medical care systems tend to operate in silos and without coordination. Many individuals suffering from behavioral health conditions also need medical attention, and vice versa. A recent report from Seton Hall University highlights that confusing regulations and inconsistent Medicaid reimbursement in New Jersey have prevented many otherwise willing mental and physical health providers from collaborating, which has led to poor access to behavioral health and physical health services and other “missed healthcare opportunities,” especially for patients facing the greatest vulnerability. All of which has devastating consequences. People who suffer from mental illness or substance abuse disorders can live 25 years fewer than those who do not, largely because their chronic physical illness have been poorly managed.

Our partner, the GCC, is excited to focus its second annual conference on integrated behavioral health. A growing body of research suggests that integrating behavioral health and medical care will lead to better access to both behavioral health and medical care, healthier patients and communities, as well as lower treatment costs over time. Within New Jersey and across the country, several promising approaches are currently underway to better integrate behavioral and physical health. The GCC conference will convene a diverse group of patients, consumer advocates, providers, payers, and policy leaders to identify extant barriers, explore alternative models, collaborate and develop actionable strategies to improve integrated behavioral health in the state.

Welcome address:

Jeffrey Brenner, MD, executive director, The Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers

Keynote speakers:

Cindy Mann, former deputy administrator and director of the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services and partner at Mannatt, Phelps & Phillips
Corey Waller, MD medical director of Spectrum Health Medical Group Center for Integrative Medicine

A panel of distinguished speakers will provide national perspective on behavioral health integration at the state level. Panelists include Keith Gaither, Director of Managed Care at TennCare; Jason Helgerson, New York State’s Medicaid Director; Heather Howard, Director of Princeton University’s State Health Reform Assistance Network; and Patrick Gordon, Associate Vice President of Rocky Mountain Health Plans.

To register for Behavioral Health in NJ: Envisioning the Future, The GCC’s second annual conference, on May 10, 2016 at the Trenton War Memorial, visit the event page here.

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