The grantees are:
Mental Health Centers
of Central Illinois
The H Group
New Age Services
Human Service Center
DuPage County Health
Lutheran Social Services of Illinois
Mental Health Centers in Central Illinois, an affiliate of
Memorial Health System, is a not-for-profit organization providing
high-quality behavioral health and developmental disability services
in Sangamon, Menard, Morgan, Scott, Logan and Mason counties.
The grantees are community behavioral health care providers
across Illinois that offer mental health and substance use treatment
services and coordinate care with medical providers. The grants are
funded under the Illinois Behavioral Health Integration Project
hosted by the Office of Health Information Technology.
"Under Gov. Pat Quinn's health care plan, Illinois is working
hard to be sure that our health system is improving health by
coordinating care for medical and behavioral issues. By getting this
right, we will all be healthier and we will rein in escalating
costs," said Laura Zaremba, director of the Office of Health
Information Technology. "The award of these grants will accelerate
Illinois' progress toward using health information exchange to
achieve better health care and support care coordination."
By drawing on new technology solutions, such as ILHIE Direct, a
secured messaging solution, sensitive patient information such as
diagnoses and medications related to behavioral health can be shared
electronically with physicians, with the appropriate release for
this information. This breakthrough hails a new day in ensuring that
doctors and behavioral health professionals can consult together in
real time on treatment planning for individuals with co-occurring
medical and behavioral disorders.
These demonstration projects aim to address co-occurring
conditions afflicting largely the poor and youth with suicidal
tendencies, the severely mentally ill, and individuals with
substance use disorders.
"Because of Illinois' stringent mental health confidentiality
law, it is nearly impossible to share clinical information in real
time with consulting physicians or other health care providers when
a patient is in crisis. We have to wait for a patient release of
information that we then fax or mail to the physician," said Jan
Gambach, president of Mental Health Centers of Central Illinois,
whose organization has been funded under these grants. "It creates a
real barrier to coordinated care when information critical to a
patent's treatment is not available when health care decisions are
One project simply seeks to send referral documents and results
of labs and physicals between a medical provider, Caritas, and a
substance use treatment facility, New Age Services Corp.
"The current process typically takes up to 10 days in total
because we end up driving patient releases and results back and
forth in order to carry the paperwork that has been required to
address our patient volume," said Gwen Reese, interim CEO at New Age
Services. "Doing this electronically will mean we can connect our
consumers to care almost immediately, as well as incorporate medical
issues into substance use treatment plans much more quickly."
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Behavioral health conditions, such as substance abuse or mental
health issues, often trigger the onset of chronic ailments such as
obesity, hypertension and diabetes. According to the Substance Abuse
and Mental Health Services Administration, 68 percent of individuals
with a mental health disorder have one or more medical conditions.
Of the nearly 60 percent of adults with a medical condition, about
one-third have a co-occurring mental disorder. Those with
co-occurring mental health disorders experience much poorer health
Care coordination provides integrated medical and behavioral
services through managed care networks to improve the quality of
care and has begun this work with the most complicated patient
groups, like seniors and people with disabilities, whose care drives
costs. Care coordination is the centerpiece of Illinois' Medicaid
reform that is aligned with the federal Affordable Care Act, which
has triggered health care reform across the nation.
Health information exchange will allow for the safe and secure
exchange of medical and behavioral health records. In Illinois the
Illinois Health Information Exchange serves as a transport network
that transmits health records from one provider to the next; ILHIE
Direct is one of its services.
For a description of each of the six projects and corresponding
grant award, see table below.
The Illinois Behavioral Health Integration Project promotes the
exchange of health information among behavioral health and medical
care providers to achieve better care. Funding for the project has
been made possible through a federal grant administered by the
National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare on behalf of
the Center for Integrated Health Solutions, a joint project of the
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the
Health Resources and Services Administration.
To get involved or learn more about the Illinois Health
Information Exchange or the Behavioral Health Integration Project,
The Illinois Health Information Exchange is a statewide, secure
electronic transport network for sharing clinical and administrative
data among health care providers in Illinois. The network allows
providers to exchange electronic health information in real time and
in a secure environment to improve health care quality and patient
care. The Illinois Office of Health Information Technology is
working with the Illinois Health Information Exchange Authority to
support its development.
Illinois Health Information
Exchange news release received from
Mental Health Centers of Central