Integration of care initiated by the innovative private sector – government should follow suit

With the demand for additional mental health services, it has become common for employers to now integrate mental and physical health care services into their employees’ health care coverage – that means you have a plan. health care service that covers both physical and mental health services and treatment. .

Employers have been at the forefront of customizing their insurance policies using managed care plans to meet the health care needs and demands of their employees. Employers want to be ahead of the game, and employees want one-stop shopping for their physical and mental well-being.

Countless studies have recognized that employers integrating health care benefits for their employees result in financial savings and create higher hiring and retention rates. These innovative approaches to private sector health care have forced the government to rethink the way it delivers health care.

Taking inspiration from the private sector, government-funded healthcare programs like Medicare and Medicaid are finally giving clients managed care options that look a lot like commercial market plans. The days of government-run fee-for-service health care delivery models that lacked integrated care, choice, value-based provider payment schedules and patient outcome measures are now nearly over. .

This was especially evident during the last monumental health care reform under the Affordable Care Act, where Congress structured its federal health care “swap” to reflect the commercial market where managed care plans offer. integrated health care coverage choices for clients. The customer can now freely buy and choose from a multitude of managed care plans covering both physical and mental health care services.

Obviously, the government has taken a few pages of the innovative private sector manual… except in Michigan, where its Medicaid program refuses to integrate care and offer clients mental health service choices.

Unlike most of the private sector and 33 other states, innovative concepts like integration and client choice for mental health services are pages of a playbook collecting dust in the basement of the Michigan Library.

When one of Michigan’s 2 million residents on Medicaid needs treatment for serious mental health issues, they are forced to use a state, county, and private medical provider system. These Medicaid clients must navigate between two different systems for their health care: one for their physical care and the other for their mental health.

This bifurcation of care has been in place for decades without reform. Lack of coverage, the inability to cross county borders for services, and the lack of providers plague the behavioral Medicaid system today.

Now is the time for Michigan to rid itself of the dust and respond to the demands and needs of Medicaid clients. By providing integrated care and offering a choice of coverage plans, there is no doubt that healthier patient outcomes and consumer satisfaction will result.