NJAMHAA Providers Manage Challenges of Meeting Increasing Demand and Systemic Changes
While striving to meet the increasing demand for mental health care, substance use disorder (SUD) treatment and support services, such as housing, education and supported employment, NJAMHAA’s member providers are also focused on the changing environment and trying to make their business models work. These are two tremendous challenges, considering the staggering prevalence of mental illnesses and SUDs – which affect not only the individuals with these disorders, but also their loved ones, in their everyday lives – and the large-scale changes taking place in Medicaid and other aspects of the behavioral health system. This inspires me to continually advocate for an external environment in which providers are well reimbursed so there is unimpeded access to care whenever and wherever children and adults need it.
While we are busy advocating for sufficient funds to overcome barriers and create an environment that ensures access, we also provide technical assistance, training and information to help members transition through systemic changes. For example, last year, many programs’ reimbursement was changed from contracts to fee-for-service and while members continue to adjust to the inherent challenges, they need to prepare for the upcoming transition to value-based purchasing of services.
At the same time that we help prepare providers for these changes that affect fiscal and other aspects of business operations, we focus on making sure that they are delivering the highest level of care through evidence based practices. We give them tools to help people most effectively. For example, Alberta Montano-DiFabio, ScD, LCADC, CCS, CCJS, a long-time expert in providing trauma-informed SUD treatment and President of Crowning Achievements LLC in South Jersey, recently delivered a deeply informative and engaging presentation on trauma-informed care to our Adult Mental Health Practice Group.
There is no shortage of trauma, which is a major factor in the development of mental illnesses and SUDs. Dr. Montano-DiFabio underscored how important it is for providers to really understand each person they are serving, focus on each client’s strengths and develop truly individualized treatment plans. She also identified these principles for providing trauma-informed care: physical and psychological safety for staff and clients; trustworthiness and transparency; peer support and mutual self-help; collaboration; empowerment of clients’ voices and abilities; and recognition of cultural and gender issues.
Trauma-informed care is one example of the high-quality services that NJAMHAA providers deliver. We help them receive training on the most advanced clinical models and advocate for sufficient funding and other external environmental factors to ensure they can provide the most effective services and enable all children and adults to achieve life-enhancing health outcomes.