It is exciting to read about innovative efforts that gives bonuses to mental health providers! Scroll down to find the full article. Thanks, Karen
"The first year, the agency paid nearly $7 million in bonuses to mental health providers who guide patients in care related to their physical health."
By Blake Farmer, Aug 9, 2019 for Nashville Public Radio
Modern medicine often views the mind and body on separate tracks, both in terms of treatment and health insurance reimbursement. But patients with psychological disorders can have a hard time managing their physical health.
So some Medicaid programs, which provide health coverage for people with low incomes, have tried to coordinate patients’ physical and mental health care.
The goal is to save state and federal governments money while improving the health of patients like John Poynter of Clarksville, Tenn.
Poynter has more health problems than he can recall. “Memory is one of them,” he said, with a laugh that punctuates the end of nearly every sentence.
He is recovering from his second hip replacement, related to his dwarfism. Poynter gets around with the help of a walker, which is covered in keychains from places he has been. He also has diabetes and struggles to manage his blood sugar.
TennCare’s interdisciplinary program, known as Tennessee Health Link, was launched in December 2016. The first year, the agency paid nearly $7 million in bonuses to mental health providers who guide patients in care related to their physical health.
TennCare has a five-star metric to gauge a care coordinator’s performance, measuring each patient’s inpatient hospital and psychiatric admissions as well as visits to emergency rooms. Providers are eligible for up to 25% of what’s calculated as the savings to the Medicaid program.
Studies show this sort of coordination and teamwork could end up saving TennCare hundreds of dollars per year, per patient. And a 2018 study from consulting firm Millimanfound most of the savings are on the medical side — not from trimming mental health treatment.