What Is All the Hype About Behavioral Health Homes?

Studies have shown that adults with severe mental illness have a shorter lifespan than adults without a diagnosis by an average of 25 years. Additionally, 68% of adults with a mental health diagnosis have at least one chronic disease that limits their daily functioning.

Behavioral Health Home (BHH) programs are evidence-based care-coordination programs designed to reduce the impact of preventable diseases in people with mental health diagnoses by ensuring the coordination of medical and mental health treatment.

This coordination is done by BHH team members, including a wellness coordinator, peer/parent support person, nurse, consulting psychiatrist and primary care provider. The common goal is to address the gaps between physical health and mental health care plans.

BHH participation, when delivered with core principals, improves the outcomes of the individuals served—reducing emergency care visits and hospitalizations and increasing overall quality of life.

How can BHH help my client?

  • BHH creates treatment plans that address client life experiences, chronic stressors, poverty and isolation to reduce the risk of premature death.
  • A BHH team shows clients how to self-manage physical and mental health symptoms through education, coaching, forming support systems and connecting to community resources.
  • Emergency room use, appointment attendance and medication refills are monitored, and clients who have had two or more refills of antipsychotic medications have their blood sugars monitored.
  • Educational and peer support for adults in the program, and support to parents with children in the program, gives clients and their families the opportunity to learn from each other and to foster a sense of belonging and community engagement.

How does it benefit me as a healthcare provider to recommend BHH to my client?

  • Unlike other case management programs, BHH is an easier program to access. It does not require specific criteria relating to mental health diagnoses and you don’t need to write a section 17 letter.
  • The BHH team will ensure that the tools used during a client’s session encourage positive treatment outcomes, and that they continue to use the tools in their home and community.
  • Clients that struggle with chronic illness also struggle to attend appointments. As clients begin to feel better, they find it easier to attend sessions and take advantage of other resources available in the program.

Why HAM is the right BHH provider to partner with.

  • We don’t have a waitlist. We will assign your client within 24 hours and have a team member see them within 4-7 days.
  • We are not case management as usual. We worked with Maine Quality Counts to help design an effective program that adheres to the highest standards of BHH. We are fully committed to model fidelity.
  • We welcome client feedback and offer the ability to participate on an advisory board.
  • Our partnerships are important. We will be proactive in our collaboration with you and you can reach us at any time.
  • We collaborate with other case management programs. If we aren’t the right fit for your client, we will transfer them appropriately. (If your client would benefit from Section 13 or 17, they may still want to continue with BHH to work on self-management skills.)
  • We regularly consult with psychiatrists and primary care providers to ensure that we are educated and that we understand the impact of client treatment plans and interactions.

Do clients need to have a chronic illness to benefit from BHH?

No. If you have clients with mental health diagnoses and they are having challenges at school, work, home or community related environments, BHH can offer them help. The BHH program allows us to work on prevention activities that help with the overall well-being of your client such as nutrition, stress relief, physical activity and tobacco cessation.

Does my client need to have MaineCare?

Yes. A client must have full eligibility in MaineCare to qualify for BHH.

How do I refer a client?

We offer BHH services in Androscoggin County, and are accepting referrals for adults in Oxford and Southern Franklin County and surrounding communities.

Referrals can be made by calling us at (207) 333-3278 or (877) 888-4304. Click here for our online referral form. 

Reisinger-Walker, E & Druss, B. (2011, February). Mental health disorders and medical co-morbidity. The Synthesis Project. Retrieved from: http://www.integration.samsha.gov/workforce

The Center for Integrated Health Solutions, SAMSHA-HRSA. (2012, May). Behavioral health homes for people with mental health and substance abuse conditions: The core clinical features. Retrieved at: http://www.integration.samsha.gov/workforce

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