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JAMHI selected for Same Day Access Initiative

Posted: August 12, 2012 - 12:05am  |  Updated: August 12, 2012 - 12:09am

Juneau Alliance for Mental Health, Inc., or JAMHI, is one of 56 behavioral health organizations chosen to participate in the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare’s 2012 Same Day Access Initiative.

JAMHI will work with National Council expert consultants from MTM Services to help persons seeking public mental health and addiction treatment access services quickly and easily. Over the next 12 months, JAMHI will assess and redesign their intake and assessment processes to reduce client wait times. Improved access to care has been proven to reduce no-shows and cancellations and better engage persons in treatment and recovery.

“JAMHI is committed to improving people’s timely access to behavioral health care. The National Council is pleased to strengthen our nation’s public healthcare safety net for some of our most vulnerable citizens,” said Charles Ingoglia, Senior Vice President, Policy and Practice Improvement at the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare.

The Same Day Access Initiative is timely as behavioral health organizations prepare for greater demand for services with the implementation of parity and healthcare reform. With extreme wait times for patients reaching nearly 300 days at some organizations, a central goal of the initiative is for patients to get appointments for care with their providers when they want them. Studies have found that the longer patients have to wait to get appointments, the more likely they are to cancel or not show up. While a same-day appointment has a 10 percent chance of not being kept, almost a fourth of patients with next- day appointments do not show up.

“We are excited about this opportunity to improve access to services by participating in this national effort to streamline lengthy documentation that presents barriers to people seeking behavioral health services. Behavioral healthcare providers are experiencing ever increasing demands for documentation accountability in this era of multiple, continuous audits. This project aims to assist us by finding ways to reduce the amount and time spent on documentation so we can offer more immediate access and spend more time providing quality direct care services,” said Pamela Watts, JAMHI Executive Director.

Healthcare organizations that have participated in the National Council’s Access Redesign initiatives in recent years have seen a 60% reduction in consumer wait times, a 39% reduction in cost of access to treatment process, a 34% reduction in staff time needed per access to treatment event, an increase in referrals from primary care practices, and an average of over $200,000 in annual savings in access to care costs per organization.

JAMHI will explore strategies such as

• Implementing same day access policies to decrease no-shows and cancellations.

• Using reminder programs to encourage consumers to keep their appointments.

• Streamlining the documentation process by removing redundant information and simplifying forms used to capture consumer data.

• Spending more time with patients to involve them in their recovery plans and less time with post-session paperwork

For more information, contact Watts at 463-3303 or at pam@jamhi.org.

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