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From the editor

Dear Healthcare Intelligence Network Client,

HIN Managing Editor Patricia Donovan

Late last month, the federal government issued new rules providing parity in treatment of mental and substance use disorders. While only applicable to group health plans that already include mental health and substance use disorder benefits along with standard medical coverage, the rules will help to eliminate some of the economic barriers to seeking mental health treatment.

However, other barriers remain, such as the emotional stigma associated with seeking mental health treatment. In a study released last week, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) found that barriers still exist for those employees who said their workplace is unsupportive of employees seeking treatment, especially for mental health treatment. Loss of status at work and concerns about confidentiality were identified more often as barriers to seeking treatment for mental health issues than for other illnesses. The APA's guidelines for creating a workplace environment that encourages employees to take care of their physical and mental health can be found in the HIN blog.

Additionally, primary care providers do not always adequately diagnose the depression that often is co-resident with chronic illness.

"We have seen that people with various mental illnesses are dying 25 years younger than the rest of the population," Laura Galbreath, director of policy and advocacy for the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, told us during a recent webinar. "In addition, we see a growing recognition that in primary care, depression needs to be identified and treated because of its comorbidity with other chronic conditions. We have stepped in to ask how the provider community can be a resource and partner in helping to better integrate care. It’s especially relevant given the status of healthcare reform and delivery system changes at the national, state and local levels."

To learn how 250 healthcare companies are targeting depression in disease management programs, download this complimentary white paper.

Your colleague in the business of healthcare,
Patricia Donovan
Editor, Healthcare Business Weekly Update

Please send comments, questions and replies to pdonovan@hin.com.

HIN Associate Editor Jessica Papay
Associate Editor:
Jessica Papay, jpapay@hin.com

Publisher:
Melanie Matthews, mmatthews@hin.com

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February 8, 2010
Vol. XII, No. 6

Sponsored by:
Assessing and Predicting Health Risk in the Elderly

This week's industry news:

  1. Majority of U.S. Adults Use Internet to Search for Health Information
  2. Health IT in Care Management
  3. Plan B: Strategy for Managing Behavioral Health Patients in the ED
  4. Emergency Room Triage of the Mental Health Patient
  5. Healthcare Business White Paper: HIT and the EHR — Implications for Healthcare Organizations
  6. Attending AA Meetings May Reduce Depression
  7. Alcohol/Substance Abuse and Dependency — Clinical Guideline
  8. New Report Examines Prescribing of Antipsychotic Meds for Nursing Home Residents
  9. Medication Reconciliation Strategies to Reduce Hospital Adverse Drug Events
  10. New HHS Rule Provides Parity in Treatment of Mental, Substance Use Disorders
  11. Managing Behavioral Healthcare
  12. HealthSounds Podcast: Reducing Heart Failure Admissions
Please pass this along to any of your colleagues or, better yet, have them sign up to receive their own copy and learn about our other news services.

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This week's industry news

1.) Majority of U.S. Adults Use Internet to Search for Health Information

New research from the CDC on health IT use has shown that 74 percent of adults in the U.S. use the Internet, and 61 percent have used the Internet to search for health or medical information. Additionally, 49 percent of adults have accessed a Web site that provides information about a specific medical condition or problem.

Get the full story.

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2.) Health IT in Care Management to Improve Health and Effect Behavior Change

Health IT in Care Management This resource describes the enrollment and engagement of patients in telemedicine programs in a variety of care settings. Experts describe the prerequisites for using technologies to engage patients in chronic disease improvement programs, setting the scene for care management and behavior change, and sharing how technology has enhanced patient engagement and self-management in specific populations.

Learn more about this resource.

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3.) Plan B: Strategy for Managing Behavioral Health Patients in the ED

Joe Eppling, assistant vice president of post-acute and behavioral health services at East Jefferson General Hospital, describes East Jefferson’s pilot effort to manage behavioral health patients in the ED when plans for a separate psychiatric ED fell through.

We went back to the drawing board and decided to scrap the idea of building a separate facility. Instead, we looked at different possibilities. We knew that we wanted to keep the psychiatric emergency program (PEP) concept in place. We ultimately decided to integrate a psychiatric nurse in the ED.

Get the full story.

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4.) Emergency Room Triage of the Mental Health Patient: Pilot Projects in Reducing ED Diversion

Emergency Room Triage of the Mental Health Patient In this resource, one industry expert explains how the community mental health center's system-wide daily conference call helps to balance work and patient flow, encourages creative problem-solving and dramatically reduces staff time spent on diversion of psychiatric ER patients to other facilities. A second expert describes a pilot program placing a psychiatric nurse in the ED, along with the impact of the program on hospital admits, discharges and resource allocation, and ED staff satisfaction and morale.

Learn more about this resource.

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5.) Healthcare Business White Paper: HIT and the EHR — Implications for Healthcare Organizations

This white paper explores the framework that the federal government has laid out for HIT and EHR development; key changes that will be required for the initiative to succeed; implications for physicians, hospitals, payors, employers and patients; and steps that healthcare provider and managed care organizations can begin to take to ensure their leadership position in the future.

Download this complimentary white paper.

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6.) Attending AA Meetings May Reduce Depression

One of many reasons that attendance at Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings helps people with alcohol use disorders stay sober appears to be alleviation of depression. A team of researchers has found that study participants who attended AA meetings more frequently had fewer symptoms of depression — along with less drinking — than did those with less AA participation.

Get the full story.

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7.) Alcohol/Substance Abuse and Dependency — Clinical Guideline, 2nd Edition

Alcohol/Substance Abuse and Dependency This resource is an 89-page clinical guideline for screening, evaluation and management of alcohol and substance abuse disorders with extensive references and resources. Review criteria for out-or inpatient care — admission, continuing care and discharge — are included.

Learn more about this resource.

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8.) New Report Examines Prescribing of Antipsychotic Meds for Nursing Home Residents

Older adults newly admitted to nursing homes with high rates of antipsychotic prescribing in the previous year are more likely to receive antipsychotic agents, according to a report in a recent issue of Archives of Internal Medicine. Of these treated patients, some had no identified clinical indication for this therapy.

Get the full story.

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9.) Medication Reconciliation Strategies to Reduce Hospital Adverse Drug Events

Medication Reconciliation Strategies In this special report, two experts describe their hospital's emphasis on quality and perfect care processes and provide the inside details on their medication management programs, which have a goal of eliminating adverse drug events.

Learn more about this resource.

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10.) New HHS Rule Provides Parity in Treatment of Mental, Substance Use Disorders

The Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Labor and the Treasury jointly issued new rules providing parity for consumers enrolled in group health plans who need treatment for mental health or substance use disorders.

Get the full story.

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11.) Managing Behavioral Healthcare, 3rd edition

Managing Behavioral Healthcare This 424-page manual provides behavioral health medical review policies, ‘benefit interpretations’ criteria, benchmarks and guidelines for inpatient, day hospital, residential and outpatient care. A practical model for a quality-based and cost-effective care management approach as well as coverage determinations. The manual also contains numerous policies, procedures, tools and forms vital to prepare for accreditation or certification surveys and strategies for quality-based efficient delivery of integrated behavioral healthcare.

Learn more about this resource.

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12.) HealthSounds Podcast: Reducing Heart Failure Admissions through Remote Health Monitoring

Reducing Heart Failure Admissions Remote monitoring of heart failure patients by Henry Ford Health System reduced expected all-cause hospital admissions for enrollees by 36 percent after six months of enrollment and a return of 2.3:1 vs. program costs, according to a September 2009 study. Dr. Randall Williams, CEO of Pharos Innovations, the developer of the Tel-Assurance® remote patient monitoring platform used in Henry Ford's medical home pilot, describes how the daily engagement of Medicaid beneficiaries in self-care health monitoring programs can help healthcare organizations avoid many of the challenges inherent in working with this frequently underserved population. Once participants are identified, they are very receptive to the daily contact, which has resulted in extremely high program engagement rates.

Listen to this podcast.

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