Recap: SecureVideo Attends Becker’s Health & Hospital Review’s Behavioral Healthcare Webinar

SecureVideo recently participated in an enlightening webinar hosted by Becker’s Hospital Review, a leading source of healthcare news and industry trends. This webinar delved into the critical topic of behavioral health (BH) and the pressing need for innovative approaches within this sector. 

Despite the slow pace of innovation traditionally seen in BH, the discussions underscored the potential of virtual care as a cornerstone for future developments, and its promise in enhancing availability and accessibility. 

Featuring a panel of experts from various organizations, the conversation explored effective strategies for integrating primary care with BH, improving BH accessibility, aligning BH with value-based care, and addressing reimbursement challenges. This recap reflects on the insights shared and the path forward for BH innovation.

Solutions for Integrating Primary & BH Services 

The webinar brought together a diverse panel of experts, including the president of Arc Healthcare, a BH psychiatrist from Elevance Health, the Chief Medical Officer of Children’s Hospital LA (CHLA) Care Center, and the CEO of Northern Virginia Mental Health Institute. They tackled the pressing question of the key challenges in achieving integration between primary and behavioral healthcare. 

Here is a breakdown of each of the panelist’s talking points: 

Arc Healthcare: The president of Arc Healthcare discusses the changes witnessed at the rehabilitative organization, where pre-COVID, approximately 28% of patients had a severe mental illness, a figure that has since skyrocketed to 53%. These figures indicate an urgent need for integrated care, especially as those seeking addiction recovery present both physical and mental health issues requiring immediate attention. Arc’s rural health clinic has adopted telehealth to provide both BH and primary care, though staffing and rapid triage remain significant hurdles for the organization. 

Northern Virginia Mental Health Institute: The CEO of this prominent mental health organization discusses the rising trend of treating patients with increasing medical complexities within BH settings, underscoring the need for integrated care. Later on in the webinar, the panelists go on to discuss the need for integrated BH within primary care and how this ties into Medicaid reimbursement. 

Elevance Health: Elevance’s BH Psychiatrist emphasized the importance of educating on whole-person care and implementing team-based care with universal screening to normalize BH assessments alongside physical screenings. They stated this can only be achieved by the adoption of innovative solutions such as integrated virtual care platforms, ultimately driving better health outcomes.

CHLA: According to the Chief Medical Officer at CHLA, staffing issues severely impact access to treatment in pediatrics, specifically. The low reimbursement rates from commercial insurance often render BH care unaffordable for insured families, pointing to a dire need for better mental health reimbursement policies, expanded networks, and enhanced oversight and training to support integrated care solutions.

Breaking Down Silos to Get Better Access to BH Services

The webinar emphasizes the challenges of serving rural and underserved populations that demand immediate access to treatment, underscoring the need for organizations to increase awareness and streamline access to their services. Quick assessments are crucial in connecting patients with the appropriate providers, ensuring that no individual’s needs are overlooked. 

Integrating primary healthcare with BH services not only facilitates better outcomes for individuals dealing with addiction or mental health issues but also significantly benefits pediatric BH through early intervention. This integrated approach is pivotal in breaking down the existing silos between mental and physical healthcare, offering a more holistic and accessible healthcare system for underserved populations. 

Integrating BH with Chronic Disease Management 

For the next section of the webinar, the panelists emphasized the importance of integrating BH with chronic disease management, particularly in conditions like sleep apnea, to achieve comprehensive healthcare outcomes. They highlighted how psychological factors, including stress and anxiety, can manifest as physical symptoms, complicating chronic disease management. 

Addressing the social drivers of health alongside these psychosomatic symptoms through tailored programs was identified as crucial. This approach not only enhances patient understanding of the interplay between mental and physical health but also promotes earlier intervention and improved overall health management. 

Where BH Fits in Value-based Care & Solving Reimbursement Challenges

As for the final portion of the webinar, the panelists discussed the integration of BH within the value-based care framework and addressed reimbursement challenges. They opened up a discourse on how current systems fall short in integrating care for patients with BH issues and emphasized the necessity for a paradigm shift to recognize mental health as equally vital as physical health. The discussion pointed out that investing in BH not only enhances overall health outcomes but also results in significant savings on physical health costs.

The panelists went on to address the struggles of the underserved populations within the fee-for-service model, which often leaves outpatient providers and patients at a disadvantage, with coverage gaps despite premiums being paid. It was noted that value-based care in BH aims to move beyond this model by focusing on at-risk populations through capitation, offering a more cost-inclusive approach. 

The session concluded with a call to action for better advocacy for BH funding, the creation of hubs for provider connectivity, and exploring partnership opportunities. Addressing these issues, particularly the high expenses faced by individuals seeking mental health services in emergency departments was identified as a significant opportunity for intervention and improvement.

SecureVideo: Furthering Innovation in Integrated Virtual Care 

The Becker’s Hospital Review webinar spotlighted the growing need for integrating BH with primary care and chronic disease management, highlighting the challenges and opportunities in the context of value-based care and the obstacles posed by existing reimbursement structures. The discourse from various healthcare leaders illustrates that while hurdles remain, the path forward involves collaboration, innovative solutions, and policy advocacy. 

SecureVideo is a telehealth platform used by many organizations to facilitate integrated virtual care, supporting better health outcomes for individuals dealing with mental and physical health concerns. With features like secure messaging, our on-demand Virtual Clinic, and group session capabilities, SecureVideo offers a comprehensive solution to connect patients with the necessary providers for all-encompassing healthcare.

Get started with SecureVideo today to learn how our telehealth platform can assist your organization in bridging the gap between mental and physical healthcare, improving access to services, and ultimately driving better BH outcomes for all.