Posted on Jul 25, 2013 in NEWS

For Immediate Release:  July 26, 2013

The Hawaii State Departments of Health (DOH) and Human Services (DHS) are holding a joint community forum on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 9:00 a.m. in the Queen’s Conference Center Auditorium to outline changes in how health care services will be provided for individuals currently receiving mental health services from the state. These changes will take effect on September 1, 2013. Behavioral health stakeholders, consumers, legislators, and service providers are strongly encouraged to attend.

The community forum will feature experts from the DHS and DOH who will outline the planned integration and expansion of behavioral health services for Medicaid beneficiaries and eligible individuals. Currently, both DOH and the DHS serve Medicaid beneficiaries through their mental health safety-net programs.

“The upcoming changes will lead to a better integration of mental and physical health care for thousands of individuals that receive their services from the state,” said Health Director Loretta Fuddy. “The changes will create a more comprehensive approach to health care, especially for individuals living with mental illness who often experience a shorter life expectancy due to chronic physical health conditions that often go untreated.”

“New features to the state’s mental health services system will mean more choices and greater flexibility for the people we serve,” said DHS Director Pat McManaman. “Expanded services for our consumers and additional federal funding for our state programs are part of the changes we are working toward.”

Currently, DHS and DOH both provide behavioral health services to eligible Medicaid beneficiaries and others. QUEST members receive specialized behavioral health services through their QUEST health plans, and QUEST Expanded Access (QExA) members receive them through either the DOH Adult Mental Health Division (AMHD) or the DHS Med-QUEST Division (MQD) Community Care Services (CCS) program. To reduce the fragmentation of delivery of behavioral health services to QExA members and others, DOH and DHS will consolidate the provision of specialized behavioral health services within the CCS program.

McManaman added, “Consolidation, community engagement, increased investment in proactive care management, and other initiatives, have been identified as important steps to improving health outcomes, reducing costs, and enhancing patient experiences.”

The DOH provides mental health crisis services to individuals in need, and specialized behavioral health services to individuals with serious mental illness who are receiving court-ordered treatment. The DOH also provides services to individuals who chose to receive care at Community Mental Health Centers (CMHC) located statewide.

This includes Medicaid beneficiaries and uninsured individuals. DOH will retain those responsibilities and remain the state mental health authority.

In the future, the DHS intends to transition the provision of specialized behavioral health services for QUEST members from the QUEST health plans to the CCS program. DHS is seeking federal approval to expand eligibility for these services and to increase services by adding clubhouse, peer specialist, representative payee, supported employee and supported housing. The DHS MQD contractor for CCS is the ‘Ohana Health Plan. The contract was awarded in October 2012 and took effect March 1, 2013.

All those affected by changes to the state’s mental health system of care are encouraged to learn more at the July 29 joint DHS/DOH forum. For neighbor island participants, video teleconference (VTC) is available at: Hilo State Office Building, 75 Aupuni Street in the basement; Lihue State Office Building, 3060 Eiwa Street in the basement; and Wailuku Judiciary Building, 2145 Main Street on the first floor.

For more information contact DOH Adult Mental Health Division (AMHD) Provider Relations at 808-586-4689.