Accessing Behavioral Health Services Webinar: Can Peer Support Help?
In many places, a shortage of behavioral health professionals keeps people from getting help when they need it. To help solve this problem, more and more providers are integrating behavioral health services and primary care and hiring peer support specialists as important members of clinical teams. Since 2013, Mathematica has been evaluating the Health Care Innovation Awards (HCIA), a series of projects funded by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to test the effects of innovative practices on key outcomes including Medicaid and Medicare spending, hospitalizations, and emergency room visits. Some projects used peer support to enhance people’s access to behavioral health services.
On May 24, from 3:00 p.m.–4:30 p.m. (ET), Mathematica hosted a webinar to discuss the findings from an evaluation of HCIA-funded projects that focused on mental health services. Representatives from two of the projects offered their perspectives on the peer role in their innovative service models and address the challenges, successful strategies, and benefits associated with incorporating peers into the workforce. The two HCIA sites represented in our discussion are the Center for Health Care Services (CHCS)—which provides integrated services to people who are homeless in San Antonio, Texas—and the Fund for Public Health in New York (FPHNY), which implemented crisis respite services that led to lower Medicaid costs and fewer hospitalizations.
- Vetisha McClair, CMS
- Crystal Blyler, Mathematica
- Jamie Neckles, FPHNY
- Kimberly Goodwin, CHCS
- Daniel O’Brien-Mazza, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
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