Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Keynoting a System for a Medical Home: Some Joy Out There in Muddville

Today, I had the privilege of keynoting the kickoff of a learning collaborative for pediatric practices that want to enhance the care that they provide for children with mental illness. The Boston Public Health Commission led a consortium that successfully got 2 grants from SAMSHA to address issues of early childhood mental health problems in the context of a community health care. It is a noble effort. One program, Boston LAUNCH, is targeting children from 0-8 with an assortment of mental health prevention approaches and the other, a Systems of Care effort that really focuses on younger children with more severe behavioral problems. What's really cool is that the BPHC convinced HRSA to allow the programs to integrate, and that they are "braiding" the funding, which be allow both programs the opportunity to work off of each other in very different circumstances. Very cool initiative. Maybe they will be able to tell us how to "fill in the blanks" in health reform.

So what did I say to them, you may ask? Really three things:
  • States have much say in how health reform plays out, and they are in various degrees of understanding their role in the process. All of them will need to implement new programs that intertwine behavioral services with routine primary care.
  • You can do the coolest program in the world, but if is not well evaluated, it will not change policy.
  • With Massachusetts health reform, CHIPRA and the Affordable Care all mean that the system is vulnerable to change. These programs, properly evaluated, will be what informs the choices that lawmakers have to make over the next few years.
After that, we team built, talked, laughed and bonded. Overall, a good use of my time.

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