Nonprofit Insider

NH Community Mental Health Centers Reach Payment Reform Agreement

The NH Community Behavioral Health Association today announced that nine of NH’s community mental health centers have reached a contract agreement with Beacon Health Strategies, the behavioral health management partner for Well Sense Health Plan, one of two managed care organizations contracted with the State of New Hampshire to administer aspects of the Medicaid system.  The agreement marks an historic shift in health care reimbursement, as it moves away from a fee for service payment model to a new payment structure focused more on patient specific needs.

Jay Couture, CEO of Seacoast Mental Health and President of the NH Community Behavioral Health Association, said, “For some time the Medicaid system has been trying to achieve payment reform. Today we are proud to be taking a major step in reforming not only how payments are made, but in investing in the wellness of our consumers and in community-based care.”  Couture added, “The community-based mental health system in New Hampshire remains quite fragile, and both the mental health centers and Beacon Health Strategies knew that we had to create a structure that protects the system, provides quality service to our consumers, and insures that there is a long-term strategy to improve the community-based system. The certainty that this agreement offers will hopefully accomplish that.” 

Couture added, “Although managed care within the Medicaid system has been used in New Hampshire and other regions of the country, it can be challenging to deploy within behavioral health care. The types of chronic conditions that the community mental health system in NH sees are not easily managed, and both the centers and Beacon Health Strategies had to learn to work together in order to be fluent in each other’s methods and businesses and allow flexibility to frame the best treatment for the patient. This process took some time, but we think the result will mean we will better serve NH’s mental health care consumers who use Medicaid to cover their health care needs.”

Roland Lamy, of Helms & Company, Inc., who worked with a number of the mental health centers in reaching agreement with Beacon Health Strategies, said, “For several years the community mental health centers have been committed to payment reform and it has always been a challenge. This agreement with Beacon Health Strategies demonstrates that injecting some new approaches into how we pay for health care in NH can help to better manage consumer outcomes and costs. ”

“Beacon understands the value in working with community-based providers. Community-based work is especially important in the way we manage care for members engaged with the mental health and substance use disorder systems," said Tim Murphy, CEO of Beacon Health Strategies. "This innovative payment model with Community Mental Health Centers will preserve the good work of the current CMHC delivery system while at the same time making important business changes that will offer the right incentives for the improved health outcomes of our shared membership."

Posted on: December 4, 2014
Topics: Something New

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