New Administrative Services for Maryland’s Public Behavioral Health System

Baltimore, MD (January 1, 2015) – The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) this Thursday  launched the Behavioral Health Integration, which creates a single financing structure for mental health and substance use disorder treatment in Medicaid.

“This represents a huge next step in the department’s vision of a fully integrated, service delivery system for Medicaid recipients,” said Charles E. Lehman, DHMH’s Acting Deputy Secretary for Health Care Financing, which houses Maryland’s Medicaid program.

Under the Behavioral Health Integration, Medicaid will oversee funding for both mental health and substance use disorder treatment through an Administrative Services Organization. This organization will function as a single point of entry for both providers and consumers within the Public Behavioral Health System. This will reduce the administrative burden to providers because the new organization will oversee the authorization of services, data collection and claims submission, as well as the payment of claims.

DHMH, through the Administrative Service Organization, also will provide a number of resources to help improve care coordination. These include:

  • A single phone number, available 24 hours a day, for consultation and referral. Through the Engagement Center, which will be staffed both by Maryland-based clinicians, providers will receive consultations and referrals for clinical questions, as well as administrative personnel to help with financing issues.
  • Greater access to pharmacy data for behavioral health providers. Starting January 1, the Administrative Services Organization will make pharmacy data available to treatment programs. The ASO has created an integrated care management system named Spectrum that will enable a physician in a mental health or substance use disorder program to quickly look up whether one of her or his patients is on blood pressure medication, medication for seizures or other conditions. Such knowledge promotes continuity of care. Programs interested in learning more about how to use this feature can call (800) 888-1965 and ask to speak with a provider services representative.
  • Tools for screening for depression, addiction and other conditions. On the ValueOptions website – http://maryland.valueoptions.com/ – all health care providers in Maryland can access simple and effective tools to screen for depression, addiction and other conditions.

Together, these resources will result in improved clinical care for individuals within the Public Behavioral Health System, leading to better health outcomes for some of Maryland’s most vulnerable citizens.

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About Ramón Jiménez

Ramón Jiménez, actual Managing Editor de MetroLatinoUSA. Periodista que cubre eventos de las comunidades latinas en Washington D.C., Maryland y Virginia. Graduado de la Escuela de Periodismo de la Universidad del Distrito de Columbia. Galardonado en numerosas ocasiones por parte de la Asociación Nacional de Publicaciones Hispanas (NAHP) y otras organizaciones comunitarias y deportivas de la región metropolitana de esta capital. También premiado en dos ocasiones como Mejor Periodista del Año por la cobertura de la comunidad salvadoreña; premios otorgados por la Oficina de Asuntos Latinos del Alcalde de Washington (OLA) y otras organizaciones. Ha sido miembro del jurado calificador en diferentes concursos literarios, de belleza y talento en la región metropolitana. Ha visitado zonas de desastre en Nicaragua, Honduras y El Salvador e invitado a esos países por organizaciones que asisten a personas de escasos recursos económicos. Antes trabajó en otros medios de prensa de Virginia y Washington, D.C., incluyendo reportajes para una agencia noticiosa mundial.

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