Promising Practices in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services

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<p>In an era of increased demand and reduced budgets for mental health and substance abuse services, states have been compelled to find ways to increase the efficiency of programs while simultaneously improving performance. A new Commonwealth Fund report, <a href="/cnlib/pub/enews_clickthrough.htm?enews_item_id=23638&return_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ecmwf%2Eorg%2Fpublications%2Fpublications%5Fshow%2Ehtm%3Fdoc%5Fid%3D392669%26%23doc392669">State Behavioral Health Innovations: Disseminating Promising Practices,</a> identifies some of these promising state practices.<br><br>Based on their extensive interviews with experts in mental health and substance abuse, and with those who administer innovative programs, researchers Sylvia B. Perlman, Ph.D., and Richard H. Dougherty, Ph.D., of DMA Health Strategies describe 17 best practices for purchasing and quality improvement. Several programs rely on performance incentives and system integration to maintain costs while improving outcomes for patients. Others create housing options for mentally ill adults, foster collaboration between the criminal justice and mental health systems to help troubled youth and adults avoid prison, or enhance patient-centered care.<br><br>Dramatic transformation in the delivery of mental health services--a recommendation of both the President's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health and the Institute of Medicine--is not likely be achieved by a top-down, federal approach, say the authors. Rather, the states will need to act as "incubators" of innovation for real change to occur at the ground level.</p>