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New IAP Program Priority: Physical and Mental Health Integration

What a year of growth that 2015 has been for IAP! In last year’s December commentary I announced the program priority areas that we had selected for IAP. It was a long selection process that included many internal and external discussions. In thinking back to this time last year, two things kept me up at night: Would we pick program priority areas that would resonate with our state Medicaid partners? and Would we really be able to launch all four program priority areas before the end of 2015? All that worrying was for nothing, we have heard from our state partners that our four program priority areas were the right topics and here we are in December launching our fourth program area.  

I thought it would be fitting to have John O’Brien, CMCS Senior Advisor and the lead behind IAP’s first (substance use disorders) and fourth (physical and mental health integration) program areas join me in this month’s commentary. With our first program area’s Substance Use Disorder High Intensity Learning Collaborative winding down, look for a future commentary from John and Tyler Sadwith discussing IAP’s work with our participating states. We also have planned through May 2016, Targeted Learning Opportunities for states interested in joining us for web-based workshops on topics such as medication assistance treatment, SUD-related measures; and designing residential and sober living housing benefits.      

This week we launched IAP’s fourth program priority focused on physical and mental health integration.  In 2016, targeted program support will be available to up to ten Medicaid agencies interested in expanding and/or refining existing physical and mental health integration efforts in their states. The IAP’s goals for this priority program area include:

  • Improving the behavioral and physical health outcomes and experience of care of individuals with a mental health condition;
  • Creating opportunities for states to link payments with improved outcomes for beneficiaries with these co-morbid conditions;
  • Expanding and/or enhance existing state physical and mental health integration efforts to:
    • Customize for specific populations; and/or,
    • Spread integration efforts to new areas of the state; and/or,
    • Spread integration efforts to new types of health professionals;
  • Identifying and spreading innovations to the field that improve and expand physical and mental health integration initiatives in various settings and for various populations.

Expressions of interest forms are due on January 29, 2016.

In addition to the program support offered across our four program areas, the IAP teams have been busy gearing up to support states in 2016 through the IAP’s four functional areas - Data Analytics, Quality Measurement, Performance Improvement, and Payment Modeling and Financial Simulations. A few activities under the Data Analytics and Quality Measurement areas are already underway, and additional opportunities under each area will become available in the coming year. We created an IAP Functional Areas webpage to share information related to each functional area and upcoming program support opportunities for states.

As we reflect on 2015 and think about how we can continue to support states’ ongoing delivery system reform efforts, we encourage you to read the 2016 update to the CMS Quality Strategy. Building off of the HHS National Quality Strategy, the CMS Quality Strategy guides the activities of all CMS components towards health system transformation.  You’ll see Medicaid IAP’s goals reflect our Agency’s Quality Strategy goals and objectives.

Finally, we want to thank everyone who participated in IAP to-date as well as those of you that have expressed interest in learning more about our work. This coming year promises to be even more productive as we develop additional opportunities for states to receive program support from IAP.

We look forward to continued collaborations in 2016!

IAP Commentary
Karen LLanos, Director, Medicaid IAP and John O'Brien, Senior Policy Advisor, CMCS


Collections: IAP Commentary