The Mental Health Association of Maryland has partnered with the Maryland Behavioral Health Coalition to introduce the Behavioral Health System Modernization Act, which includes a comprehensive set of reforms aimed at increasing the quality of behavioral health and substance use care in the state.
Bill SB637 would require the Maryland Medical Assistance Program to provide reimbursement for certain behavioral health peer recovery, Measurement-Based Care, and crisis response services.
The passing of this bill would be a major step forward for Maryland. Not only does it mean that Measurement-Based Care (MBC) will become a core focus of behavioral health treatment, but it also requires various organizations responsible for payment of health care services to provide coverage and reimbursement for its delivery.
Here’s what this would mean for behavioural healthcare in Maryland:
- When people are more engaged in their treatment process, they see better results. Implementing Measurement-Based Care will provide people in care with insight into their treatment process and symptom changes. This increased understanding of their care process will help them better understand their mental health, the overall progress they’ve made in care, and give them the knowledge to recognize and discuss any symptom changes with their clinician.
- The broader behavioral health system as a whole will improve. Clinical and system-wide data can be used to identify strengths and weaknesses in the system, population-specific needs, and gaps in care services. It can also inform state-wide programming and funding decisions to help improve the quality of care for people across Maryland.
- Improved care coordination by ensuring that when people transition to another provider or care pathway, they are not put in the position to start from scratch with their new provider and tell their story from the very beginning. MBC can enable an ‘all hands on deck’ collaborative approach to care where, with permission from their client, every provider is able to access care history and be equipped with the information they need to provide high-quality care, right from the beginning.
Maryland is setting an example for what the future of behavioral health services should look like. Improved access to high-quality care, that is continually innovating and improving based on consistent client-reported outcomes (also known as Measurement-Based Care), should be the priority across the US. Not only would it better support every individual accessing care, but it would have major impacts on the healthcare system’s ability to understand what programming and treatment pathways work best for the diverse people, backgrounds, and range of personal experiences that make up the US.
As organizations across Maryland work to improve their quality of care, we are thrilled to be working alongside them in their implementation of MBC. There are big changes on the horizon for the behavioral health system in Maryland and we are honored to be a part of it.