Washington – Forefront contributor provider developing innovative ways to improve access to behavioral health services in the reformed state

Forefront Contributor Providers are collaborating to develop innovative approaches to improving access to behavioral health care in Washington.

Forefront Contributors consists of four of the state’s largest community healthcare providers advocating for policies and initiatives to improve health care outcomes for low-income populations. This includes Comprehensive Healthcare, Frontier Behavioral Health, Compass Health and SOUND.

Dr. Jodi Daly, President and CEO of Comprehensive Healthcare, Addresses the State’s Crisis Level workforce shortage Forefront’s main priority.

“This situation is years in the making,” Daly said. “The mental health needs of our communities have become increasingly urgent over the past three years. While we are still coming to terms with the effects of the pandemic on the mental health of our residents, the truth is that systemic funding issues have made it difficult for providers to This has hampered our ability to keep pace with the growing requirements. [since] Long before COVID.

Daly said funding issues have created unprecedented workforce shortages, forcing providers to limit services due to staff shortages.

Daly said, “Without adopting a sustainable funding system that will allow us to stabilize the current workforce landscape, we are unable to adequately ensure access to our core services, programs to keep pace with demand, and Consider expanding the offerings.”

Jeff Thomas, CEO of Frontier Behavioral Health, said Forefront Contributor is advocating for both short- and long-term solutions to address the issues that continue to strain the state’s behavioral health system.

“The key long-term solution we’re advocating is the statewide adoption Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) model, a nationally proven, evidence-based approach that will help ensure the sustainability of high-quality community behavioral health care,” said Thomas. “We believe this model is an ideal solution for Washington because It will address the most pressing issues facing behavioral health, insufficient funding and record workforce shortages by enabling providers to receive fair compensation for services.”

Thomas said this will allow providers to offer competitive compensation while recruiting and retaining staff to keep programs and facilities open and ready to serve community members.

Forefront Contributor Providers Excited That State Leaders Have Approved financing For a study to adopt the CCBHC model during the last legislative session, Thomas said.

“We are now focused on supporting the state’s application for a federal planning grant, which is the next step toward becoming a demonstration site for the CCBHC model,” said Thomas.

Thomas said some of Forefront Contributor’s top priorities for short-term solutions to address the workforce shortage are advocating for an increase in Medicaid rates, expanding investments in student loan repayment programs, utilizing employees in new and different roles and supporting licensing reciprocity with neighboring states. Those who want to stay up to date on Fourfront Contributor’s advocacy efforts can subscribe to News bulletin,

According to the University of Washington, quarter Washington residents do not have access to mental health services. Daly said offering more competitive salaries would help providers attract the health professionals needed to keep pace with the state’s demand for mental health services.

“For example, in Comprehensive Healthcare, we recently took steps to use lump sum funds to offer incentives such as higher salaries and student loan forgiveness,” Daly said. “The recent increase in pay has led to a 24% increase in resume submissions for behavioral health aides and case managers. As a system, we need better support so that we can provide that type of compensation. more organized and sustainable.

Daly said Forefront Contributor member organizations are also supporting innovative approaches such as engaging in mobile crisis team outreach, using peer counselors to aid in treatment and recovery, and strengthening partnerships with local law enforcement, schools and other community agencies. are doing.

Forefront Contributor’s collaboration with partners such as the Washington Council for Behavioral Health, peer agencies, philanthropic organizations and other industry leaders has helped the organization grow, said Tom Sebastian, President and CEO of Compass Health.

“From exploring potential solutions with our philanthropic partners to implementing population-level research of behavioral healthcare and operational models with our payer organizations, these partnerships allow us to drive meaningful change within the behavioral healthcare system,” said Sebastian. enables.”

Fourfront Contributor is committed to serving as a trusted, expert resource for our partners and others interested in learning more about the challenges we face as community behavioral health providers, and the solutions that can help address these challenges.

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