Update from the WHI Mental Health/Substance Use Work Group
At the WHI Planning Group meeting in February, members worked in small discussion groups to identify the gaps that will remain for the low-income and uninsured in the county after implementation of the ACA. Nearly every group identified mental health and substance use services for the mild to moderately mentally ill as a remaining gap in the current system. The WHI Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Work Group has a number of projects underway that focus on prevention and care for those with mild to moderate mental health and substance use issues. These projects include:
TaMMS – The Tailored Mental Health Management Support (TaMMS) for Primary Care is a new program designed to help manage patients’ treatment for depression and anxiety in three to four safety net clinics in Washtenaw County. TaMMS combines interactive voice recognition software with telephone and face-to-face social work support to provide flexible, coordinated, and affordable services for patients with depression and/or anxiety, who are treated in primary care. This program will allow safety net clinics to better meet the needs of low-income and uninsured individuals with depression and anxiety. The full-time project manager, Karla Metzger, LMSW, has been hired and is working through the implementation details for the program in the various safety net sites. The program is expected to be operating at Packard Health first, and then at the Academic Internal Medicine (AIM) clinic at St. Joseph Mercy Health System (SJMHS) and at the University of Michigan Health System’s (UMHS) Ypsilanti Health Clinic later this year. The program may also be implemented at the UMHS Taubman clinic.
WHI Opioid Task Force – This sub-group of the WHI MH/SU work group was formed in the fall of 2013 and brings together participants from the County Sheriff’s office, County Health Department, Livingston and Washtenaw Narcotics Enforcement Team (LAWNET), and the Regional Substance Abuse Coordinating Agency, with those from UMHS, SJMHS, Dawn Farm, Home of New Vision, HIV/AIDS Resource Center, Catholic Social Services, and the U-M School of Nursing and Department of Psychiatry, to assess current data about opioid use in the county and to coordinate programming related to opioid prevention and other services. The group is currently identifying priority areas in which to focus their work to prevent opiate addiction and overdose in targeted populations, using information on evidence-based programming and interventions.
Capacity assessment – The work group is also currently assessing the capacity in the county to deliver mental health/substance use disorder services to low-income and uninsured individuals with mild/moderate mental health needs. The group is gathering data from current mental health providers serving this population, as well as information from Medicaid health plans. It will use this information to predict the demand for those newly covered by private insurance and the Healthy Michigan Plan (Michigan’s Medicaid expansion) and assess whether current provider capacity will meet the expected new demand for services.