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Budget Summary FY2015

Outside Section 230
Data Current as of:  10/17/2014




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Behavioral Health Task Force

SECTION 230.   There shall be a special task force convened to identify existing structural or policy-based impediments to delivering comprehensive and cost-effective behavioral and mental health treatment within the commonwealth's health care system. The task force shall consist of 14 members: 1 of whom shall be the executive director of the center for health information and analysis, who shall serve as chair; 1 of whom shall be the commissioner of mental health; 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts Hospital Association; 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans; 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts Psychiatric Society; 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts Psychological Association; 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts Association of Registered Nurses; 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts Nurses Association; 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts Association of Behavioral Health Systems; 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Association for Behavioral Healthcare; 1 of whom shall be a representative of SEIU Local 509; 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts College of Emergency Physicians; 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Statewide Primary Care Association serving on behalf of community health centers; and 1 of whom shall be a representative of the National Alliance on Mental Illness Massachusetts.

In its examination, the task force shall review how health care providers deliver behavioral health services, including but not limited to: (i) an analysis of existing state and health care provider policies for collecting and evaluating aggregate data regarding the numbers of patients treated for behavioral or mental health diagnoses, provided treatments and patient outcomes; (ii) a review of existing state and industry policies for collecting and evaluating aggregate data regarding the annual number of people hospitalized due to a behavioral or mental health related diagnosis, including emergency room visits and the associated costs for treatment; (iii) a review and analysis of existing state and industry policies regarding access to behavioral health services data and information, including recommendations to encourage increased coordination and improved access to relevant data among providers, hospitals and state agencies; and (iv) recommendations for necessary industry, regulatory or legislative changes in order to improve collection and access to behavioral health data among providers, regulators, hospitals and other stakeholders. The task force shall also develop recommendations to reduce the number of long-term patients in department of mental health continuing care facilities, acute psychiatric units and emergency departments including, but not limited to, increasing the capacity of specialized crisis stabilization units and requiring the department of mental health to implement policies that prioritize the readmission of patients who are discharged from continuing care facilities and subsequently require hospitalization within 30 days of their discharge.

The task force shall submit its report, findings, recommendations and any proposed legislation and regulatory changes to the health policy commission, the joint committee on mental health and substance abuse and the joint committee on health care financing not later than July 1, 2015.