Preparing for Success: Key Takeaways from DC Managed Care Readiness Workshop

Uncertainty about how to get ready for integrating behavioral health into managed care led nearly 200 stakeholders to register for this event hosted by the Department of Health Care Finance (DHCF), DBH Training Institute, and Integrated Care DC.

Barbara J. Bazron, Ph.D., director of the Department of Behavioral Health (DBH), joined Melisa Byrd, senior deputy director and state Medicaid director of DHCF, in delivering keynote addresses to kick off the daylong workshop on May 9.

“A health care system that delivers whole-person care cannot be achieved without transformation of our behavioral health services and systems,” stated Byrd. “That is why the collaboration between DHCF and DBH is imperative and why we are here today in partnership.” Dr Bazron added, “This is an exciting time for all of us within behavioral health. We have the opportunity in the District of Columbia to establish a system of care that is of high quality and truly integrated in partnership with our provider network, managed care organizations (MCOs), and government partners.”

Following the keynote remarks by DHCF and DBH, trainers Josh Rubin, MPP and Art Jones, MD of Health Management Associates, guided attendees through the foundational elements of managed care and factors for success in an integrated care environment. They urged providers to partner with the health plans as part of the patient-centered care team and shared strategies for communicating with MCOs, coordinating care management, and demonstrating value through quality services.

In the afternoon, attendees interacted with a panel of health plan leaders from Amerigroup, AmeriHealth Caritas, MedStar Family Choice, and Health Services for Children with Special Needs, Inc. The panelists answered audience questions about how MCOs can support integrating behavioral health and primary care. Attendees then split into three breakout sessions tailored for leadership, clinicians, and administrative and clinical support staff. The respective breakout sessions featured group exercises and lively discussions on collaborating across organizations, including consolidations and independent practice associations; documenting to meet medical necessity and level of care standards; sharing actionable data.

The workshop ended with a recap of key takeaways from the learning sessions and discussions, and a reminder that training and technical assistance programs provided by DHCF and DBH are available to help, with more readiness activities to come.

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