Saturday, December 27, 2008

From (and to) the CBHI: An End of Year Message

This was in my inbox from last week, and seemed worthy of comment:
Thanks so much ...
November 30, 2008 was such an amazing milestone for the Children's Behavioral Health Initiative. Its the date the Court established for the implementation of the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) and the date for us to complete planning for CBHI data collection. Well, we did it! And we accomplished it with your help. Together, we met November 30th with many great achievements: Primary Care Behavioral Health Screening, two versions of the CANS, nearly 7,000 clinicians trained and over 6,000 certified, an IT system barreling toward implementation , new billing codes and nearly everything that we planned to do by this date. So, to those who attended seemingly endless meetings, drove to meetings at Hoagland-Pincus in Shrewsbury , fed your kids and then raced-off to a Family Forum, tirelessly worked off-hours responding to RFIs , RFRs and RFPs or patiently sat through the "technical difficulties" of a CBHI conference call ... we say thanks! Thank you for helping us reach this milestone and, equally important, thanks for your continued commitment to building a strength-based, family-focused system of care for very deserving kids and their families.

Happy Holidays,
The CBHI Staff
Pretty impressive year, isn't it?  We really on the way to changing the way in which we think about mental health care in Massachusetts.   And yet:
  • To the child with mental illness, it is still hard to understand that, despite your illness, you are still a child who wants to learn and have friends and do well and be good  and play in the snow, like every other child in the Commonwealth.
  • To the parent of the child with mental illness, it is still hard to find a mental health therapist who fits your schedule, takes your insurance and gets along with you and your child.
  • To the primary care doctor caring for a child with mental illness, it is still hard to know how to stay in touch with and contribute to the ever growing team of professionals working with the family
  • To the mental health therapist seeing the child, it is still hard to keep up with the paperwork required by most of the third party payers to provide evidence-based treatments for the children entering our increasingly integrated system.
  • To the teacher working with a child in treatment, it is still hard to know when education ends and mental health treatment begins.
So, as we move past solstice and into the next year, we should all applaud the CBHI for leading us through this tangled web, and we should applaud ourselves for the work and change that we have brought to the system.  Then we need to get back to work.  The new system's bones are falling into place, but we still all have a lot of meat to put on them.

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