Wednesday, August 11, 2010

State Addresses Integrated Care

The North Carolina Health and Wellness Trust Fund (HWTF) awarded $1,001,736 to the North Carolina DHHS Division of Medical Assistance (NCDMA) to form the North Carolina Center of Excellence for Integrated Care. The goal is to develop a ground-breaking initiative to help move towards coordinated care using a model that combines the delivery of medical and mental healthcare services.

The Center will be managed by the North Carolina Foundation for Advanced Health Programs and will build upon “Integrated, Collaborative, Accessible, Respectful, and Evidence-based” care referred to as ICARE a partnership created in 2006. The program addresses the need to combine mental health treatment with medical care in primary care settings.

The project started with primary care practices where 40 percent of all patients present with mental health issues. The Center of Excellence will continue to work with primary care offices and expand integrated care into other healthcare systems such as hospital emergency departments and mental health agencies. The Center will also ensure that consistent standards of care are adopted across different healthcare settings.

NCDMA will match HWTF’s funds to create the Center to support educational opportunities to improve the quality of care for high risk and high cost Medicaid patients. The Center will operate with a small interdisciplinary team working with experts in multiple fields of medicine, mental health, emergency care, and healthcare management.

ICARE also partnered with the North Carolina Office of Rural Health and Community Care to implement pilot projects at practices across the state. Results from the pilots have indicated that access to outpatient mental healthcare improved and than many patients benefited from integrated care.

For more information, contact Barbara Moeykens, at HWTF at (919) 855-6881.