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Intermountain Wins Hearst Health Prize for Mental Health Integration

March 28, 2017
by David Raths
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Announcement made at the 17th annual Population Health Colloquium in Philadelphia

Utah-based Intermountain Healthcare was named the winner of the 2017 Hearst Health Prize for its mental health integration program, which embeds mental health screening and treatment within primary care and select specialty practices.

The announcement was made by Gregory Dorn, M.D., M.P.H., president of Hearst Health, and David B. Nash, M.D., M.B.A., dean of the Jefferson College of Population Health, who is also one of the judges, at the 17th annual Population Health Colloquium in Philadelphia. The Hearst Health Prize is an annual $100,000 award given in recognition of an organization's or individual's outstanding achievement in managing or improving health in the U.S.

In 2000, Intermountain Healthcare created a Mental Health Integration program for patients that made mental health evaluation and service part of the routine care for all patients seeking care at Intermountain, with an emphasis on primary care. It utilizes a team-based approach, built upon systematic, evidence-based medicine that is collaborative and measurable, to help patients and their families manage the complexity of both mental and physical health.

More than 100,000 patients were tracked over a 10-year period to observe their outcomes and interactions. Below are statistics highlighting the impact of the program, based on this retrospective longitudinal cohort study between 2003 and 2013 comparing Team-Based Care to Traditional Practice Medicine:

• Patients perceived physicians were more sensitive to their emotional or mental health concerns, explained things better, and provided better overall quality of care and services under the Mental Health Integration approach.

• The Team-Based Care model had higher rates of active depression screening (46 vs. 24.1 percent); adherence to diabetes care bundle (24.6 vs. 19.5 percent); and documentation of self-care plans (48.4 vs. 8.7 percent)

• Rates of healthcare utilization were lower for Team-Based Care patients (18.1 vs. 23.5 visits per 100 person-years)

• Significant reductions in payments to the delivery system were associated with the Team-Based Care group vs. the Traditional Practice Medicine ($3,400.62 vs. $3,515.71) and were lower than the investments in the Team-Based Care program

"Treatment and management of mental health conditions is a critical issue in the population health field and we congratulate the Intermountain Healthcare team for creating and implementing such an effective program," Nash said in a prepared statement. "The Hearst Health Prize submissions this year covered a broad range of issues and the judges came away with new insights about the good work that is being done across the country in a variety of settings."

The two other finalists for the 2017 Hearst Health Prize were:

American Heart Association/American Stroke Association: “Target: Stroke” is a national initiative aimed at increasing the number of eligible stroke patients receiving tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) within the specified time frame in order to protect the brain from disability Participating hospitals dropped average door-to-needle times from 74 minutes to 59 minutes. Today, 75 percent of patients are treated within the 60-minute door-to-needle time.

California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative based at Stanford University (CMQCC): CMQCC’s mission is to reduce preventable maternal mortality and morbidity, and reduce racial-ethnic disparities in birth outcomes. Through a series of data-driven quality improvement projects, CMQCC’s work contributed to a significant decline in maternal mortality in California at a time when U.S. rates doubled.

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