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PCPs Breaking Even on Mental Health Costs

Jacqueline Fellows, for HealthLeaders Media, July 10, 2014

"We took one person's [mental health] journey for 18 months and used post-it notes to document their care," says King. A banner marked with red, yellow, and purple post-its documented:

  • 18 registrations
  • 9 clinical assessments
  • 17 treatment plans
  • 20 providers
  • 16 discharges

"The chart was 15-feet long. We calculated that we'd be able to reduce it by 2 feet. It shows how much duplication there was in our system."

A new system debuting in 2015 will both reduce the care providers and repeat interactions. There will be one registration, clinical assessment, and treatment plan, all able to be fine-tuned and changed with the coordination of a care team.

But the duplication goes beyond being a cost issue to the system. Kind says it's also harmful to patients.

"Can you imagine what it's like to have explain 10 times how your uncle raped you? It's re-traumatizing," says King. "It sounds like a small thing, but it's a big thing to a mental health patient. The human aspect of this [initiative] is pretty powerful."

Jacqueline Fellows is an editor for HealthLeaders Media.
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