by Leighton Huey, MD
Secretary/Treasurer and Member, Board of Directors, Annapolis Coalition on the Behavioral Health Workforce
Associate Dean, Professor of Psychiatry, Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine
Over the past many years, the Annapolis Coalition has done important work addressing the frontline behavioral health workforce, primarily focusing on this important group of workers as “neglected” in some or many ways, needing recognition about its value in what it provides in the care of individuals entrusted to behavioral health. On a recent Board Call, I raised the question of: “If we’re thinking of the welfare of frontline workers, is that welfare determined by the work being done by supervisors, directors, and administrators in terms of the:
- provision of quality of care,
- promoting the quality of the health care system,
- assuring fidelity to both evidence-based care and person-centered care,
- working within the larger dimension of the social determinants of health,
- providing a true bio-psychosocial perspective that requires the seamless integration of mental and physical health care, and
- advocating for a new dimension that should become a critical part of health care and health –
Would such a perfection of care (or realistically, at least ongoing quality improvement) provide a catalyst for improved organizational morale across all disciplines that extends to patients and their families?”
I propose that it is high time to turn the spotlight on to the “decisioners” of health care: the funders, the agencies, the guilds, the administrators, the supervisors, the directors, the reviewers, and the recipients of care to tackle these questions:
- Why does our health care system continue to struggle and provide standard care of less value?
- Why is care so fragmented?
- Why do fragmented efforts continue to be supported?
- Why are there differences in the costs of the same care across communities?
And in behavioral health, why is the assessment and treatment process so uneven,
and depending on the particular community, why is there often not a quality continuum of care?
While there might not be a universal model designed to provide the quality of care referred to above, better models based on location (urban/rural), cultural context, nature of social determinants, and other aspects might afford improvement and better alignment with the needs of a particular community. These are critical issues for us to address as we embrace a new, and hopefully better year!
What are your thoughts?