|Posted:||December 1, 2022 11:53 AM|
|From:||Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill|
|To:||All Senate members|
|Subject:||Behavioral Health Integration|
|In the near future, I will reintroduce Senate Bill 40 of last session that will integrate behavioral health and physical health services in Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program.
As some background, HealthChoices is the name of Pennsylvania's managed care programs for Medicaid recipients. Known as the carve-out, mental health and drug and alcohol services provided via the HealthChoices program differs from the physical health component of the HealthChoices program. Unfortunately, because of this carve-out, access to quality, comprehensive care becomes an issue for those who need multiple types of services.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 68% of adults with mental illness also have one or more chronic physical conditions. These chronic physical illnesses are exacerbated by mental health and/or substance abuse disorders. People with both serious mental and physical illness need integrated care, as they die on average 25 years earlier than those affected with chronic physical illness only. Furthermore, tackling the opioid crisis necessitates coordinating a member’s physical health, mental health, medication, and substance use services.
In a letter sent to state Medicaid Directors, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services CMS specifically stated integration is critical for improving access to treatment for physical health conditions and substance use disorders that are common among individuals with serious mental illness.
Therefore, I am introducing legislation to coordinate mental health, substance abuse and primary care services in an effort to produce the best outcomes and best care for people with complex health needs. In other states, behavioral health integration has proven to reduce administrative costs. It provides easier integration of a single treatment plan, easier data collection, and monitoring of outcomes tying together the entire cost of care and better quality of care.
Please join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation that will improve health outcomes and lower costs in the system.
Introduced as SB119