Magazine article Behavioral Healthcare Executive

Rosenberg: Reform Is a "Game Changer"

Magazine article Behavioral Healthcare Executive

Rosenberg: Reform Is a "Game Changer"

Article excerpt

"Healthcare reform is really a 'game changer,' something that opens up wonderful new opportunities as well as a range of important challenges," says Linda Rosenberg, CEO otThe National Council. Reform marks a new milestone for the field's professionals: "We've now got what we always wanted, to have mental health and addiction disorders treated the same way as other illnesses. It's a huge victory. We've now become part of the healthcare system."

Looking ahead, Rosenberg predicts that an array of game changing implications will flow from the reform effort, implications that build on current behavioral healthcare and addiction treatment initiatives or challenge the field to adapt in new ways.

Collaboration:

"Our field has been building collaborative relationships ... these will be even more important since many of the areas where we now provide services - in schools, the criminal justicesystem, in primary care, and other areas of the community - will now have a lot more people with the insurance needed to obtain services. This really ups the ante on working collaboratively with community and human service agencies. You'll see behavioral health providers take an increasing role in areas that are outside the office ... It used to be that you would only go outside the office with things like case management and ACT teams. Now, you're going to be going out more often in these other areas due to this change in emphasis."

Funding sources:

"The trend away from state grant funding began 10 or 15 years ago and will only accelerate, particularly in light of the huge budget .shortfalls. States will be looking to get out of grant funding and providers will have to move to an insurance-centric world. That shift in funding will change relationships tor everyone - for providers who are new to contracting with insurance companies, for advocates unaccustomed to working with insurance companies, for consumers who will have to begin working with insurance companies to access services and benefits."

Competition:

"Because more people svili have insurance, there will be more money in the market ... For those who've spent their lives in this field, there are going to be some big, new players and a new level of competition. We've got to be ready for that. Competition isn't bad, of course, but it will call organizations to be as efficient and streamlined as possible. Itwillcallon themtoprovideeasier access to services, enabiingconsumers to be seen when they want to be seen and how they want to be seen. …

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