Annapolis Coalition Recognizes Innovation in Workforce Development

The Annapolis Coalition periodically recognizes particularly noteworthy efforts by other organizations to address a workforce problem in the field of behavioral health care workforce development. In reviewing candidates, the Annapolis Coalition Board uses criteria adapted from the Innovation in Government Award initiative at the Harvard Kennedy School. These criteria include measuring the significance, novelty, transferability, effectiveness and sustainability of workforce initiatives.


Recently, the Coalition bestowed its Innovation Award to two noteworthy programs: The Staff Assessment and Retention (STAR) Program at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s (UPMC) Community Care Behavioral Health Organization, and Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN).



In late 2018, the Coalition awarded its Innovation Award to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s (UPMC) Community Care Behavioral Health Organization and the UPMC Insurance Services Division in recognition of the outstanding work of its Staff Assessment and Retention (STAR) Program.


While providing services to the Medicaid population across Pennsylvania, this non-profit behavioral managed care organization designed a statewide electronic survey of its more than 500 network providers to assess each agency’s current retention and turnover rates – and plans. After providing informational webinars, the survey asked what strategies agencies used to improve retention and what factors were identified by the agencies that negatively impacted retention.


Among a broad list of high staff retention factors were staff recognition, supervision time and access to training. Factors with the highest negative impact on retention were low benefits, low pay and excessive paperwork.


Community Care will be publishing this full quantitative and qualitative study of its public health and Medicaid providers. It is also continuing STAR to monitor and improve retention of employees in the provider agencies and system of care. The organization intends to reward agencies with better retention with higher rates of reimbursement as part of Value Based Contracting. The full study or further information can be obtained from Deborah Wasilchak at [email protected] .




The Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN) was also recognized with the Annapolis Coalition’s Innovation Award for its outstanding work in addressing the behavioral health workforce needs in Nebraska.


BHECN is a state-funded, university-based that addresses mental health and addiction workforce issues through Nebraska. The Board noted the innovative leadership BHECN has provided in many areas, including: creating behavioral health regional education and training sites; developing innovative strategies to deliver behavioral telehealth and integrated care training; establishing leadership in inter-professional behavioral health training, curriculum development and outcomes research; and providing funding for behavioral health trainees across disciplines.  Particularly noteworthy is the organization’s effort in collecting, analyzing, and disseminating behavioral health workforce data, including monitoring workforce trends and identifying priorities for future workforce development. The multiple reports and dashboard maps created by BHECN and available on its website attest to the work it has done to identify shortage areas and then target resources to train, recruit and retain behavioral health providers to meet the needs of the citizens of Nebraska.


You can learn more about BHECN here.