Across healthcare, integrated care is routinely considered the preferred way to provide treatment. But do we actually agree on what we mean by integrated care? Do we know how it’s accomplished and what it looks like in practice? A recent survey found over 170 definitions of “integrated care,” including SAMSHA’s: “Integrated care is the systematic coordination of general and behavioral healthcare.” For people living with intellectual or developmental disabilities, severe mental illness and/or substance use disorders who depend on a variety of healthcare providers, it is critical that we come together to articulate the core principles of integrated care. With clarity and consensus, providers, payers, and stakeholders can then assess progress towards service integration. The unfortunate truth is that, today, very few people experience service provision as being integrated.
An integrated care model comes down to two focus areas – cost and quality of care. More often than not, the processes put in place to achieve these focuses are related to business practices and funding. NC DHHS identified several strategies that will be used to move toward integrated care in the August 2017 concept paper for Medicaid Transformation. They include:
In fact, NC DHHS Medicaid Transformation is built around an intention of integration. New distinctions in the Medicaid program populations and benefit packages between Standard and Tailored BH/I-DD Plans, establishment of Advanced Medical Homes, and increased emphasis on value-based contracts and payment structures are all mechanisms within the Medicaid Transformation vision that will move us closer to integrated care. In addition, NC DHHS is building on the Health Information Exchange and increasing available information on Social Determinants of Health at the individual and population levels so that consumers and professionals can have more information to make better decisions.
i2i Center brings together stakeholders with different perspectives to ONE NEUTRAL TABLE to develop common goals, to better understand each other’s roles and requirements in serving a specific population, pooling resources and developing recommendations that each stakeholder and i2i Center staff can take forward to effect the legislative process, policy development and implementation and local processes.