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Creating a Robust, Diverse, and Resilient Behavioral Health Workforce in Massachusetts

September 29, 2022

The behavioral health workforce in Massachusetts is in crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the prevalence of behavioral health issues and demand for services, exposing and aggravating the vulnerabilities of Massachusetts' behavioral health workforce and delivery system. Health care, including behavioral health care, has been among the industries hardest hit by the "Great Resignation," exacerbating workforce shortages that predated the pandemic. These dynamics fuel an urgent call to action for Massachusetts to grow and support a workforce that can meet the pressing demand for behavioral health care in the Commonwealth. Informed by a literature review, the development of an inventory of promising models nationwide, and interviews with local and national stakeholders and experts, this report outlines seven concrete recommendations to expand Massachusetts' behavioral health workforce, increase its diversity, maximize its potential to meet the needs of all people in the Commonwealth, and strengthen its resilience.

Arkansas: A Leading Laboratory for Health Care Payment and Delivery System Reform

August 19, 2014

As states' Medicaid programs continue to evolve from traditional fee-for-service to value-based health care delivery, there is growing recognition that systemwide multipayer approaches provide the market power needed to address the triple aim of improved patient care, improved health of populations, and reduced costs. Federal initiatives, such as the State Innovation Model grant program, make significant funds available for states seeking to transform their health care systems. In crafting their reform strategies, states can learn from early innovators. This issue brief focuses on one such state: Arkansas. Insights and lessons from the Arkansas Health Care Payment Improvement Initiative (AHCPII) suggest that progress is best gained through an inclusive, deliberative process facilitated by committed leadership, a shared agreement on root problems and opportunities for improvement, and a strategy grounded in the state's particular health care landscape.

Addressing Patients' Social Needs: An Emerging Business Case for Provider Investment

May 29, 2014

Despite growing evidence documenting the impact of social factors on health, providers have rarely addressed patients' social needs in clinical settings. But today, changes in the health care landscape are catapulting social determinants of health from an academic topic to an on-the-ground reality for providers, with public and private payers holding providers accountable for patients' health and health care costs and linking payments to outcomes. These new models are creating economic incentives for providers to incorporate social interventions into their approach to care. Investing in these interventions can enhance patient satisfaction and loyalty, as well as satisfaction and productivity among providers. A variety of tools for addressing patients' social needs are available to providers looking to leverage these opportunities. With the confluence of sound economics and good policy, investing in interventions that address patients' social as well as clinical needs is starting to make good business sense.