Brockton Behavioral Health Center aims to address mental health and climate justice
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has been associated with a rise in the number of people reporting new cases Increased mental health challengesincluding suicidal ideation, as well as a significant increase in substance use and Deaths due to overdose. Mental health struggles f substance use disorder (SUD) Far from being a COVID-related public health problem, but the pandemic has created a pivotal moment for healthcare systems to either be proactive in addressing the desperate need for treatment and support or risk letting the most vulnerable people in society suffer and fall through the cracks.
For BMC, this proactive role means scaling up the provision of critical behavioral and transitional health services with a new hub—critically, from a health equity perspective, ensuring that the most vulnerable have access to high-quality access.
Taking the lead in creating new opportunities for people living with SUD and other mental health problems is not only the right thing to do on a human level, but an effective strategy for hospitals and health systems.
Internal data at BMC shows that 48% of MassHealth members have behavioral health needs compared to the average Medicaid population (35%), and this subgroup pays 83% of the total cost of care (TCOC). The bulk of this cost of care is paid for by dual-diagnosis behavioral health patients, especially those with a severe mental health disorder or with autism spectrum disorder, predominantly opioid use disorder.
However, there is a significant dearth of facilities in Massachusetts for people seeking inpatient behavioral health care, particularly those with concurrent SUD conditions. All anyone has to do is consider boarding emergency department hospitals to see that capacity in care centers is strained. In BMC, for example, the boarding rate for psychiatric-related ED increased by 53% amid the COVID-19 pandemic associated with Close the bed and a Shortage of qualified behavioral health providers.
Now more than ever, it is important for people to access community-based treatment without worrying about how they will obtain or pay for care.Click to tweet
Furthermore, only 50% of MassHeath patients’ ED referrals are successfully placed to SUD stabilization services, intensive transitional services are reducing capacity (there is only one clinical stabilization service in Boston as of 2021), and even with placement, high rates of Readmission indicates concerns about the quality of care.
The bottom line? For many across the United States, specifically for high-risk BMC patients, demand far outstrips supply for inpatient critical behavioral health and transitional services.
“We think what we’ve seen, it’s made the case very compelling that we need to take a more proactive role. There’s a huge opportunity for us from both an access issue and a quality issue for our members,” says Ryan, Boxill, PhD, MBA, chief behavioral health officer at BMC Health System, talks about how BMC addresses the behavioral health needs of MassHealth patients.
Underlining BMCHS’ decision to take on this proactive role, Boxell noted that internal data reports show that when patients access treatment, there is an approximate 25% reduction in the overall cost of care.
“The good news we’ve seen is that the treatment is working. And I’ll say that again, the treatment really does work,” says Boxell.
Launching the Brockton Center for Behavioral Health
Last year, BMC Health System purchased a former nursing home in Brockton, Massachusetts. Now, this dedicated hospital facility is being relaunched as Brockton Behavioral Health, a state-of-the-art center specifically designed to meet the behavioral health needs of MassHealth patients. Boxill notes that the new center will serve predominantly MassHealth members, as opposed to the traditional joint model of similar centers that require a minimum number of members on Medicaid.
“according to [COVID-19] The pandemic and emergency room boarding crisis that Massachusetts has experienced because of the pandemic — now more than ever — it’s important that people get community-based treatment without worrying about how they’ll get care or pay for it,” says Tracy Weeden, the new executive director of the Center Brockton Behavioral Health Center.
The new Brockton Center will consist of two 28-bed inpatient psychiatric units for people 16 years of age or older and a 26-bed Clinical Stabilization Service (CSS) for adults. The CSS Unit operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week for people seeking long-term recovery from SUD. The team will aim to coordinate with the patient’s external health providers in an effort to close gaps where people on treatment could get lost historically in the recovery process. The focus will be on a harm reduction approach to recovery, including drug treatment for eligible patients.
“Harm reduction is human service to human beings,” Weeden explains. “It means seeing people and accepting them for who they are without judgment, and then working with the individual to get to the next step, whatever that next step might be for them. It means we are the tool. The patient is their expert. They know their goals, and we as providers are the tool to help them achieve.” that. “
Dealing with care with competence and multicultural humility
The new Brockton Behavioral Health Center doesn’t just set Medicaid residents apart – so is the commitment to building a staff equipped with competence and multicultural humility.
“We focus on having the staff and leadership at the facility be representative of the patient population that will be served,” Boxell says. “We don’t see that much when it comes to psychiatric facilities.”
The American Psychiatric Association reported this in 2017 Rates of mental illness among black Americans are similar to the general population On average, disparities become apparent with regard to mental health care services. Black Americans often receive a lack of culturally competent care and low quality related care. Just 2% of psychiatrists in the United States identify as black.
Weeden echoes a thought from a behavioral health professional at the Brockton facility when discussing why cultural competence and cultural humility are key components of care: “When people need help and they look in pamphlets and websites, they look for people who are like them. People they can connect with. It makes them.” That’s more ready to make that first phone call. They can see that they’ll be welcomed, not judged.”
“For me, it is an honor to be able to have such a diverse group of team members serving our patients in Brockton.”
While recruitment is still ongoing, Weeden describes the already-existing team as multilingual—including Spanish, Cape Verdean, Haitian Creole, and American Sign Language—multicultural and interfaith, inclusive of the LBGTQIA+ community, as well as including staff with exposed living experience disorders. Substance abuse and/or behavioral health disorders.
“Normally, that would be a stigma or taboo, right?” says Weeden. “For me, it is an honor to be able to have such a diverse group of team members serving our patients in Brockton.”
Address environmental racism with the Brockton Behavioral Health Center
The climate justice system recognizes negative health outcomes attributable to the environment It disproportionately affects vulnerable populations, particularly poorer communities and communities of color. And so, when relaunching the former nursing home into the new behavioral health facility, leadership took its environmental impact into account.
Boxill says the Brockton Behavioral Health Center will be a zero-sum facility, said to be the first of its kind in the United States. The site will use geothermal heating, and will release renewable and sustainable energy via solar panels and wells.
The state-of-the-art facility is a significant investment in the health and wellness of a predominantly poor and ethnically diverse patient base.
“What I’m really proud of is that you don’t usually see this kind of building and this level of financial investment happen in communities with the amount of diversity that Brockton has,” Weeden says. “It doesn’t usually happen in black and brown communities. Maybe in other communities, but not ours.”
The sustainable green initiative, such as its focus on qualified multicultural staff and its commitment to helping those who cannot pay for treatment, is not the result of building the Brockton Behavioral Health Center, it was the purpose.
“What makes this facility different,” says Boxell, “is that we build it from the ground up, intentionally serving those in this community who need it most.”