Disrupting the school-to-prison pipeline with trauma-informed, school-based diversion programs

When schools practice harsh discipline and remove students from the school (e.g., through out-of-school suspensions, expulsions, arrests for minor offenses, etc.), it can lead to students’ involvement with the juvenile justice system. This school-to-prison pipeline disproportionately affects minority students, students with mental illnesses and behavioral issues, students with disabilities, and students with histories of abuse and neglect. [More]

CMS announces CPC+ primary care model

On April 11, 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the Comprehensive Primary Care Plus (CPC+) model. The CPC+ model, which builds on the CPC model launched in October 2012, is designed to align Medicare, state Medicaid agencies, and commercial insurance payers to achieve comprehensive, coordinated primary care, especially for patients with complex medical and behavioral health needs. [More]

HHS issues report on behavioral health benefits of Medicaid expansion

On March 28, 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) issued a report entitled, “Benefits of Medicaid Expansion for Behavioral Health.” The report estimates that about 1.9 million low-income uninsured persons with mental illness or substance use disorders live in states that have not yet expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). [More]

Behavioral Health’s Move Toward Value-Based Purchasing

“Alternative payment models are not an option for behavioral health providers,” Arizona Medicaid Director Tom Betlach said, “They are your growth strategy.” Betlach’s point was very clear and it resonated with the more than 5,500 attendees at NatCon, where Payment Reform – be it alternative payment methodologies (APMs) or value-based purchasing (VBP) models like Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) initiatives – was a key theme. In line with this, New York State’s DSRIP efforts were highlighted repeatedly throughout the conference. (PCG has played an instrumental role in spearheading New York’s initiative). Government agencies have become “first movers” towards VBP, stressing the importance of “whole person care,” not just “sick care.” [More]

CCBHC Is The Start of Something Good!

CCBHCs! That’s Certified Community Behavioral Health Centers, for those not familiar with the billion dollar investment that the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will soon make to state behavioral health systems. In 2014, Congress passed the Protecting Access to Medicare Act (H.R. 4302), which included a demonstration program based on the Excellence in Mental Health Act. [More]

Detecting Early Warning Signs of Behavioral Health Problems - Amy Kaye, Ph.D., Staff Psychologist, Boston Children’s Hospital Neighborhood Partnerships (CHNP)

Amy Kaye, PhD is a Staff Psychologist at the Children’s Hospital Neighborhood Partnerships Program (CHNP), the community mental health program in the Department of Psychiatry at Boston Children’s Hospital. In addition to providing services as a school-based clinician and consultant at CHNP, Dr. Kaye serves as a member of the program’s Evaluation Team, facilitating, documenting, and evaluating evidence-based practice implementation throughout the service delivery model at CHNP partner schools. Additionally, she serves as a member of Boston Public Schools’ Comprehensive Behavioral Health Model (CBHM) Research Committee, providing consultation on program evaluation efforts surrounding the district-wide CBHM. Dr. Kaye has extensive training and experience in implementing and evaluating the effectiveness of evidence-based strategies and practices in a variety of clinical settings, including urban public schools, residential schools, correctional facilities, primary care facilities, and community outpatient facilities. Dr. Kaye is currently an Instructor at Harvard Medical School and a Teaching Fellow in Prevention Science and Practice at Harvard Graduate School of Education. She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Maine, and she completed her predoctoral internship at Milton Hershey School. [More]

Raising High School Graduation Rates - Edmund Oropez, Chief Officer for Teaching and Learning, Austin Independent School District

In aggregate, a school might appear to be hitting its performance benchmarks, but we all need to look at data more closely to acknowledge performance gaps. For example, although several years ago, the Austin Independent School District had a respectable overall graduation rate, analyzing our data revealed that the male graduation rates for African Americans and Hispanics were below average. [More]

Research centers examine national congregate care trends

Two research centers, Chapin Hall and the Chadwick Center, recently collaborated to examine nationwide patterns of congregated care placements (i.e., group homes, residential treatment facilities, psychiatric care institutions and emergency shelters). The research findings, which were published in a policy brief titled Using Evidence to Accelerate the Safe and Effective Reduction of Congregate Care for Youth Involved with Child Welfare, are quite timely since the Senate Finance Committee’s legislation addressing congregate care is still in-development. [More]

PCG's top health trends to look for in 2016

Year end is a time of reflection, and a time to plan for what’s to come. Here at PCG, our Health team has much to be proud of in 2015: we helped more than 40 states develop and implement health care reform and Medicaid policy that will impact millions of Medicaid members nationwide. And so we look ahead to 2016, and PCG Health’s leadership sees a few trends that we are keeping an eye one that we think will impact the Medicaid healthcare system in 2016, and for years to come. [More]

President Obama Signs H.R. 4302

On April 2, President Obama signed into law H.R. 4302, the “Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014,” which averts a 24 percent reduction in Medicare Part B physician payment rates until at least March 31, 2015. As in many prior years, Congress set aside Medicare payment reform proposals that would have repealed the “sustainable growth rate” (SGR) formula (in Medicare law since 1997) but postponed for another year the payment reductions that the SGR formula would have imposed. Instead, physician payment rates will increase 0.5 percent as a result of the new legislation. H.R. 4302 also postpones from October 1, 2014 to October 1, 2015 the date upon which the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) can require health care providers and health plans to transition from ICD-9-CM to ICD-10-CM coding on claims, a five-fold increase in diagnostic coding specificity. [More]