The state handed out $60 million in grants for mental health and addiction services care last week, including grants to two behavioral health care collaboratives that include local agencies.
The Neighborhood Center will receive $1.8 million as the lead agency of the Mohawk Valley Behavioral Health Care Collaborative, which will offer services in parts of Oneida, Herkimer, Chenango, Delaware, Schoharie and Montgomery counties, said Executive Director Sandra Soroka.
And $2.4 million went to the Syracuse Brick House, doing business as Syracuse Behavioral Healthcare, which is the lead agency for a still-unnamed collaborative group that includes Community Health and Behavioral Services, a division of Upstate Cerebral Palsy. Its network will cover Oneida, Madison, Onondaga, Oswego, Cortland and Cayuga counties, said Tara Costello, vice president of behavioral services for Community Health and Behavioral Services.
“The purpose of these behavioral health care collaboratives is for community-based organizations to kind of work together to enhance service delivery and prepare for what’s known as value-based payment options in the hanging Medicaid reimbursement environment,” Soroka said. “The intent really is to help secure and ensure that individuals receiving services are really receiving the full spectrum of services needed to reduce the use of more costly services such as inpatient hospitalizations and to improve the health outcomes for individuals.”
Patients shouldn’t expect any changes right away. The three-year grant will help the agencies set up the infrastructure of the new collaboratives. Eventually, these collaboratives should put the agencies involved in a good position for negotiating contracts and should help patients move between levels of care seamlessly, Costello and Soroka said.
Although the lead agencies in both collaboratives provide outpatient services, both have arrangements with hospitals with psychiatric units should patients need hospitalization.
“It’s really more about developing that collaboration, but the collaboration hasn’t been formed yet,” Costello said. “It’s really kind of backward.”
The grants are part of the state’s efforts to redesign its Medicaid program to improve quality, lower costs and improve population health.
Community Health and Behavioral Services only offers mental health services in one of the counties covered by its collaborative – Oneida – but its parent Upstate Cerebral Palsy offers services in all those counties, Costello said. So the collaboration will help the agency build a continuum of care for everyone it serves, she said.
Contact reporter Amy Neff Roth at 315-792-5166 or follow her on Twitter (@OD_Roth).