Joining forces to address mental health needs

In November, the Safety Net Clinic Coordination workgroup and the Mental Health and Substance Abuse workgroup joined together to address shared interests and brainstorm future projects.

The interest in this collaboration between workgroups was sparked following the primary care capacity assessment. The capacity analysis of Washtenaw County’s primary care clinics used data at three points in time: in 2010, prior to Medicaid expansion; in 2014, immediately following expansion; and in 2015, after Medicaid expansion. The goal of this analysis was to determine the county’s primary care capacity—with a focus on clinics serving large Medicaid and uninsured patient populations—and to guide primary care clinic preparations for changes in coverage following the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The summary detailed that safety net clinics report inadequate capacity to respond to the demand for mental health services. The workgroups collectively discussed shared goals of expanding mental health and substance use services in safety net clinics and addressing community mental health needs. In addition, they discussed Medication-Assisted Treatment in primary care settings.