For Medicaid patients who need both behavioral health and physical health care, finding and accessing services can be a challenge, with the fragmented nature of our health care system often leading to gaps in care or care that is not appropriately suited to their needs. This is not only harmful to patients’ health, but also can result in increased costs. It makes the process of health care delivery unnecessarily complicated and reduces the quality of care.
NAMD strongly supports the integration of behavioral health care services to facilitate a more rational, efficient and effective delivery of Medicaid services. We foster state-to-state collaboration and communication on this issue to build support for integration strategies and to share approaches to breaking down the siloes between these types of health care. In December 2014, NAMD hosted a workshop to support states in their efforts to improve the delivery of care for Medicaid patients that have behavioral health needs.
More recently, in February 2015, NAMD held a webinar in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation on the use of behavioral health home models in Medicaid. It featured perspectives from state Medicaid officials in Missouri, Idaho and New York and explored the ways these states are using this model to integrate physical and behavioral health care for Medicaid beneficiaries.
State Medicaid officials are leading the way to make the delivery of behavioral health care services align more closely with physical care services, but much more work needs to be done to ensure all Medicaid patients have the coordinated care they need. NAMD will continue to foster inter-state collaboration and encourage national discussion on the issue in order to contribute to meaningful reforms.