Meaningful Use incentive funding spawned a revolutionary launch of technology into the healthcare field in an attempt to deliver better patient care at an efficient cost. This movement has even reached the behavioral health industry with mental health professionals signing on the dotted line to become meaningful users. After attesting that they first need to adopt electronic health record technology, mental health professionals began to look at the clinical quality measures (CQMs) they must report. They were puzzled when trying to find how many of these medically focused measures actually applied to behavioral health.
Questions began to arise, such as, “Should I do the CQM with the Ischemic Vascular item or the Pharyngitis one?” and “How do you pronounce Angiotensin anyway?” After choosing perhaps the Initiation & Engagement of Alcohol/Drug Treatment and maybe the Anti-depressant Medication Management CQM, behavioral health professionals were at a loss for finding a valuable CQM that was truly meaningful to them and their patients.
In 2014 some organizations will begin transitioning to the Stage 2/2014 Edition of CQMs, which carry many Stage 1/2011 Edition CQMs forward and have added a few new ones that would even cause Skinner and Piaget to crack a smile. There are about 20 new CQMs added and 9 of them have strong relevance in behavioral health.
These include Major Depressive Disorder Suicide Risk Assessment, ADHD Follow up Care for Children Prescribed Medications, Bipolar and Major Depression: Appraisal for Substance Use, Screening for Clinical Depression and Follow Up Plan, Depression Utilization of the PHQ-9 Tool and many others. Behavioral health professionals will now have a choice of CQMs that are particularly relevant to their type of care. There is also a building focus of measuring hospital costs relative to patients who suffer from mental health issues and looking to wrap more services around these individuals as a cost effective measure and a vastly improved level of care.
For many years behavioral health has been a second thought when it comes to medical care. It has been nice to see a potential shift in focus and strengthening the entire community by improving the mental health of all.