SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Tom Leyden, Sean Houghton, Glenn Rossman, Ignacio M. Llorente, Xenia von Wedel

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Kansas Seeks to Become “Model for the Nation” with Healthcare Solution Aimed at Treating Whole Person

Imagine dealing with two illnesses simultaneously – one behavioral, the other physical. It’s a reality for many. Sixty eight percent of adults with mental health conditions also have medical conditions, according to the American Psychological Association, impacting the healthcare system with high human and financial costs.

Two new solutions are being adopted in Kansas to help assure coordinated care, improve outcomes and reduce cost of care for people with co-occurring mental and physical health issues. The initiatives use Health Homes and Health Information Exchanges (HIEs) to share authorized clinical information and facilitate referrals between providers. Both use care coordination technologies from Overland Park, Kan.-based Netsmart to facilitate the information exchange process.

“We’re pleased to play a key role in helping provide coordinated care in Kansas,” said Michael Valentine, chief executive officer, Netsmart. “Supporting these innovative initiatives is core to our commitment to enabling provider organizations nationwide to treat the whole person and improve the overall health of tens of thousands of people with co-occurring behavioral and acute illnesses.”

Health Homes Initiative Links Kansas Community Mental Health Centers

The Association of Community Mental Health Centers of Kansas (ACMHCK) announced that its behavioral health-centered Health Homes will utilize Netsmart’s CareManager™ solution to streamline communication and monitor outcomes. Health Homes, a component of the Affordable Care Act of 2010, are teams of healthcare professionals responsible for coordinating integrated care across multiple providers.

Patients may have multiple chronic conditions including asthma, COPD, HIV, schizophrenia, depression, diabetes or a body mass index (BMI) over 25. The ability to treat the body and the mind in one workflow is instrumental in giving those individuals the treatment they need. By integrating primary care and behavioral health, Health Homes seek to improve both the quality of care and health outcomes

“The Kansas mental health system is shared between the state and the counties, and sharing is a big part of what makes the system work,” said Kyle Kessler, executive director, ACMHCK. “Being able to come together under a single, standardized data platform will allow 23 member Health Homes to share information, coordinate care, and provide efficient, effective services to clients across the state.”

KanCare, the program through which the State of Kansas administers Medicaid expects to implement Health Homes for the severe mentally ill (SMI) in the next few weeks.

“Our goal is to make Kansas a model for the nation,” Kessler says of the care integration launch.

The Netsmart CareManager solution is also utilized in behavioral health-centered Health Homes in Iowa, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, Washington and Wisconsin.

Behavioral Health Referrals Added to Kansas HIE

The Kansas Health Information Network (KHIN), meantime, has announced it is partnering with Netsmart to connect behavioral health and physical health communities using Netsmart’s CareConnect solution. CareConnect transmits protected health information in a secure, encrypted and auditable manner to statewide and regional providers through the KHIN HIE.

“KHIN is pleased to have the opportunity to work closely with the Kansas Community Mental Health Centers and Netsmart,” said Kansas Health Information Network Executive Director Laura McCrary Ed.D, “The inclusion of physical and behavioral health care data together in KHIN has resulted in a more complete medical record for Kansas patients. KHIN members feel strongly that complete data, including behavioral health data at the point of care, helps to ensure the safety of Kansas patients.”

To learn more about the enhanced communication provided through HIEs with Netsmart CareConnect, visit CareConnect™: HIE Software Solutions for Integrated Consumer Healthcare and read Netsmart white papers on the topic of integration.

To learn more about Health Homes, view “What It Takes to be a Health Home: Moving toward an Integrated Care Model," a recorded web seminar presented by Netsmart and OPEN MINDS. Additional Netsmart white papers about Health Homes and other topics of interest to health and human services providers are available for download on the Netsmart website.

About the Association of Community Mental Health Centers of Kansas

KHIN’s mission is to improve health care quality, coordination and efficiency through the exchange of health information at the point of care utilizing a secure electronic network provided by a collaboration of health care organizations. KHIN is a provider led 501(c) 3. It draws users from a broad geographical area and aligns with state data sources to support cost effective delivery of services. It supports and integrates with community and medical trading area efforts to drive care coordination and workflow changes creating a climate to encourage innovation. Its goals are to ensure providers, patients and communities have long-term access to cost effective, sustainable health information exchange aligned with costs distributed across a broad user base. It also encourages and removes barriers so communities and regions can focus on quality improvement, patient centered medical home and entrepreneurial strategies that effect local health outcomes. More information is available at www.acmhck.org.

About Kansas Health Information Network

Hundreds of hospitals and clinics in the state work in conjunction with KHIN. KHIN’s mission is to improve healthcare quality, coordination and efficiency through the exchange of health information at the point of care utilizing a secure electronic network provided by a collaboration of health care organizations.

About Netsmart

Netsmart is committed to helping health and human services providers deliver effective, outcomes-based care with Netsmart’s CareFabric™ solution, a tightly woven framework of innovative clinical and business solutions and services that supports integrated, coordinated delivery of health services across the spectrum of care.

More than 23,000 client organizations, including 450,000 care providers and more than 40 state systems use Netsmart solutions to help improve the quality of life for more than 25 million people each day. Netsmart clients include mental health and addiction services agencies, health homes, psychiatric hospitals, private and group mental health practices, public health departments, social services and child and family health agencies, managed care organizations, and vital records offices.

Netsmart is pleased to support the EveryDay Matters Foundation, which was established for behavioral and public health organizations to learn from each other and share their causes and stories. Organizations can also request grants for their cause or to help fund technology that advances the way care is delivered. For more information, visit www.everydaymatters.com

Learn more about how Netsmart and the CareFabric solution are changing the face of healthcare today. Visit www.ntst.com, call 1-800-472-5509, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook or visit us on YouTube.

CareManager, CareConnect and CareFabric are trademarks of Netsmart Technologies, Inc.

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