Telepsychiatry Companies

How Measurement Based Care Improves Care Quality for CCBHCs

How Measurement Based Care Improves Care Quality for CCBHCs

Certified Community Behavioral Health Centers (CCBHCs) are required to meet a strict set of standards to ensure high-quality, timely care for their patients. But, they don’t have to tackle these exacting standards by themselves. For organizations looking to increase access for their communities and deliver quality behavioral health services, having a partner they can lean on to help track and effectively leverage data can be a strategic benefit.

In this blog, we’ll look at how a quality-focused, virtual behavioral health partnership can help CCBHCs meet their metrics and set new standards for care in their communities.

How CCBHCs approach measurement-based care

CCBHCs leverage required measures to drill down and determine how their organization is performing. These required measures include:

  • Time to services
  • Depression remission at 6 months
  • Depression screenings and follow-up plans
  • Screening for social drivers of health

Dr. Tracy Mullare, Medical Director of Outpatient Services, Iris Telehealth

Leveraging evidence-based screenings, which can be embedded easily within the electronic health record, is a nice way to show that patients are improving during their treatment progression. It’s a nice opportunity to engage in treatment planning with patients. Evidence-based screenings can make sure that the applied treatment is improving outcomes as much as possible. I think screening for quality initiatives continuously also helps move quality forward.

Additionally, CCBHCs are required to have a continuous quality improvement plan in place to address opportunities for improvement.

For example, if a CCBHC’s average time to service is 25 days, they can drill down and determine the factors affecting the metric, how they compare to national statistics, and what they can do to decrease that number.

Challenges CCBHCs may face when tracking quality measures

Tracking and monitoring quality measures is required to keep CCBHC accreditation. However, that’s no easy feat when they must care for all patients regardless of age, diagnosis, or insurance status. With barriers like the provider shortage and available specialists in their area, meeting all patients with quality care isn’t easy.

Sue Germann, Chief Executive Officer at Pines Behavioral Health

We went from scheduling intakes to same-day access. We really made sure that we had enough staff to be able to meet that need. That helped us in terms of being able to meet the measures related to how quickly you needed to see someone.

In addition to ensuring they have enough team members to handle the extra responsibilities , organizations must also provide education to their staff, implement new workflows, and make sure they have a large enough staff to provide screenings and collect and evaluate data.

To help take on the extra bandwidth, sometimes organizations hire additional help or pivot roles.

Sue Germann, Chief Executive Officer at Pines Behavioral Health

Every service we provided had a greater need [after CCBHC certification] – including psychiatric. We connected with Iris right away with a virtual psychiatrist, which was invaluable.

CCBHCs may also encounter patients with specialty needs and require providers who specialize in specific conditions and treatments. Due to provider shortages and difficulty hiring in their local area, getting that extra help can prove challenging.

Fortunately, leveraging a virtual behavioral health partner can help CCBHCs achieve increased access to providers and support for quality tracking to meet their required metrics.

The benefits of a quality-focused partnership

Virtual behavioral health strategies are a key part of a CCBHCs long-term success. This partnership not only brings in additional providers to help meet demand, but it also supplies extra support to track quality measures.

This process starts with the CCBHC choosing to share their data with a trusted virtual behavioral health partner, like Iris Telehealth, who then analyses and identifies opportunities for improvement. At Iris, we look at the data of their story and learn how it relates to various factors. For example, if there was a sudden change that lasted three months, we can look at what happened at the point, whether good or bad, and determine what can do it about it or what we can learn to optimize services in the future.

Yara Nielsenshultz, Executive Director of Quality at Iris Telehealth

At Iris, we work with many partners across the board, and we learn from them all. Through these partnerships, we’ve built an aggregation of knowledge we can share. For example, if an organization is facing an issue they don’t know how to address, based on what we’ve learned, we can share how another partner of ours solved that same challenge – ultimately, expanding their knowledge base as well.

Tracking quality metrics puts a lens on an organization’s operations and informs quality improvements. For Iris partners, we’ve been able to help them look at referral cues and wait lists to help determine what needs to happen for patients to be seen in a shorter amount of time.

We review metrics to ensure we’re using appropriate screenings for suicide, depression, anxiety, and use evidence-based measures to assess and track patient improvements. This process allows us to identify if there needs to be treatment plan revision.

Chandra Mola, Medical Team Manager at Deschutes County Mental Health

Due to staffing shortages of psychiatrists and psych NPs, telehealth has been really important for us to have that balance. But even beyond that, as we’ve been able to hire more psychiatrists these last few years, it’s been a good thing to have a balance of in-person and telehealth. Particularly in our rural areas, because oftentimes they don’t have the means to get to clinics.

We’ve noticed that our no-show rates improve when we have this option [virtual care] available. Ultimately our folks are getting service that is accessible to them and means that we can serve more people and do a better job.

Implementing virtual behavioral health strategies can help facilitate the following benefits:

  • Expansive staffing
  • Aggregation of quality measures
  • Access to specialists
  • Medical group leadership expertise
  • Robust support

To learn more about these benefits, be sure to check out our blog from our Medical Director of Outpatient Services, Dr. Tracy Mullare here.

The role of Iris Telehealth

At Iris, we have in-depth experience and a vast knowledge base we’ve collected after years of working with CCBHCs. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help your organization track quality metrics you’re required to meet, don’t hesitate to reach out – contact us here today.

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