RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif., Feb. 4, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — To increase behavioral health’s integration with traditional health care models, the State of California will award Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP) with $32,376,142 in funding over the next two years. The health plan will then disperse these funds to local medical organizations throughout the Inland Empire (Riverside and San Bernardino counties) to support programs that enhance behavioral health integration for both IEHP Members and Medi-Cal Members at large.
The goal is to help clinical Providers improve physical and behavioral health outcomes, care delivery, and patient experiences by developing or expanding integrated care practice models. Funding is tied to the state’s $140 million investment into the Behavioral Health Integration Incentive Program, which is leveraging $70 million from Proposition 56 tobacco tax revenue.
“Nearly two million California residents are suffering from a serious mental illness and need treatment,” said Dr. Takashi Wada, IEHP vice president of population health. “This support from the state will allow us to respond to this need and work to improve upon the current system and how care is accessed and routinely provided. Funds will also provide for further collaboration with our providers to support the whole person health of our community.”
To receive funding from the health plan, eligible Providers were invited to apply and submit project proposals that effectively responded to the state’s objective. Eligible providers included primary care, specialty care, perinatal care, hospitals, and behavioral health providers.
The Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) approved 32 projects from 83 proposals after an extensive evaluation and selection process. These projects represent 20 different organizations whose goal is to improve an existing system and support access to mental health treatment for countless residents in the Inland Empire.
Projects focus on key areas including basic behavioral health integration, maternal access to behavioral health, medication management for those who are mentally ill, diabetes screening for those with mental illness, and hospitalization/emergency room follow-up for those who were treated for mental illness.
The program was originally scheduled to begin in 2020; however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the effort was paused by DHCS and resumed in July of 2020. Projects are scheduled to start in early 2021.
“We are very eager to move forward with this initiative and grateful the state recognizes this tremendous need,” said Dr. Karen Hansberger, IEHP chief medical officer. “We have so much ground to cover in this space and are fully committed to partnering with our Providers to do all we can to ensure our members and communities have the opportunity to enjoy optimal care and vibrant health in every way possible.”
IEHP, Serene Minds
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