Thursday, July 23, 2009

Funding Issues and Reimbursement and the Mental Health Recovery Model

Greetings all:

I have come across this argument against the mental health recovery model in many situations, and after talking with Larry Drain initially on the subject I would like to address the issue of funding reimbursement in recovery-based clinics.

There seems to be several factors that can increase a recovery-based clinic’s funding reimbursement possibilities. Among the most important are:

1) Having large, well organized advocacy support groups: advocates are of huge importance in lobbying state legislature to insure minimal budget cuts to mental health occur. They also are instrumental in bringing in donations, corporate funding, and many other services that would be nearly impossible for a clinic operating on its own to procure. Get several great advocacy groups active in your community, if there aren’t any, create some. A good source for finding national advocacy groups is by clicking here.

2) Crunching your Research Numbers: if your clinic is involved in research or filters clinical data into a research facility, figure out the value added from your data and be able to present these for grant proposals and meetings with state and national officials. If the state can see a higher return on their dollar invested, they will likely continue to give your organization funding. This is a form of cost-benefit analysis for the state which is provided by the clinic; if your organization does not have the capacity to perform such calculations, seek out one which does. This type of consulting is actually in the works at the organization I currently am doing research with, so if your at a loss by all means contact one of their team members to see if they can get something started for you at the research and evaluation homepage.

3) Analyze your consumer population: what type of consumer your clinic treats can definitely affect funding allocations. For example, facilities that treat consumers with severe and persistent mental illnesses tend to get further grant funding than general clinics. If a certain consumer group makes up a large amount of your clientele, highlight the fact and seek out advocacy groups and grant sources which focus upon treatment and research in that area.

4) Consider an Evidence-Based Approach: the mental health recovery model and evidence-based practices are not mutually exclusive. Recently government officials are actually calling for an alliance of the two practices for the purpose of providing evidence that the recovery model is actually effective. In order for this approach to work, your organization needs to start collecting data pronto. More important than the collection of data, however, is the processing of said data. If your clinic does not have the data expertise required to do this, look for large research facilities in the surrounding area that do. This will allow you to provide actual figures for grant applications which can be invaluable. The quality of information gathered is also of huge importance. The use of psychometrics for this purpose is a popular approach. A rather inexpensive solution is to explore options with Basis 24 surveys; also a possibility is MHCD’s own Reaching Recovery Initiative. Again I cannot stress the point enough, gathering data is only 1/3 of the battle, you have to actually do something with that data for it to be worth the collection!

These are just a few suggestions; Larry and I will continue our conversation and hopefully I can perhaps offer more solutions based on our discourse. Data analysis in mental healthcare is becoming increasingly important; if your clinic does not have the capabilities to crunch such numbers, consider bringing on a programmer, an information systems specialist, or a statistician for that very purpose.

Just a few ideas on funding reimbursement solutions for the mental health recovery model! If you have more suggestions feel free to post a reply! Also if your looking for an active advocacy group shoot a reply my way as well. If you ARE an active advocacy group, hit a reply too, maybe we can do some cyber mental-health match-making and get the communication flowing!

Until next time,
MHCD Research and Evaluations

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