Arizona Health-e Connection (AzHeC) and The Network are moving forward and making fast progress with the recently announced strategy to integrate both physical and behavioral health information in The Network. The strategy involves working closely with the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), the regional behavioral health authorities, and behavioral health providers across the state.
There is a lot to coordinate and communicate, but progress is steady, according to Melissa Kotrys, CEO of AzHeC. “There are many important pieces and steps to creating a broad statewide integrated health information exchange,” she said. “We have been working collaboratively with a number of organizations and providers that comprise the behavioral health care and safety network for the state, and the response has been very positive.”
One key indicator of progress has been the rapid growth of behavioral health providers in The Network who, like all other community providers in The Network, are exempt from Network participation fees. (See article: Rapid Growth of Behavioral Health Providers)
Cenpatico Integrated Care, the regional behavioral health authority for Pima, La Paz, Yuma, Greenlee, Graham, Cochise, Santa Cruz, and Pinal Counties expressed support for one statewide integrated health information exchange for both physical and behavioral health information. “Cenpatico Integrated Care supports a fully integrated HIE platform, inclusive of both behavioral health and physical health data,” said Sloane Steele, Senior Vice President, Business Systems & Data Management for Cenpatico Integrated Care. “Whole person care, considering all aspects of wellbeing, is fundamental to successful care programs and outcomes. And to this end, access to comprehensive health care data in a streamlined way that enables functional clinical workflows, is a corner stone for building successful programs and outcomes,” she added.
Valle del Sol, a behavioral and integrated healthcare provider in Maricopa County that recently joined The Network, sees integrated health information exchange as a real benefit to their patients. “We are pleased to be a participant in The Network,” said Carmen Heredia, Chief of Arizona Operations for Valle del Sol. “Having more complete information on our patients will help us provide better care and achieve better outcomes.”
One integrated statewide HIE not only will provide more complete information to physical and behavioral health care providers, it will address a root cause of high health care costs in Arizona and across the country, according to David Spitzer, Chief Operating Officer of AzHeC, who reached out to many behavioral health providers across Arizona in developing the integrated HIE strategy. Spitzer points out that most of the high-need patients who account for high costs such as hospital readmissions have co-morbid physical and behavioral health conditions. “Patients with chronic conditions often suffer from behavioral health conditions and vice versa. Providing more complete information to physical and behavioral health providers will allow them to address whole patient needs. This ultimately should produce better outcomes and lower costs”. Spitzer said.
If you have questions, would like to learn more about The Network or are interested in becoming a Network participant, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (602) 688-7200.