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Kansas to Exchange Data on Co-Occurring Mental, Physical Health Issues

July 28, 2014
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Two new initiatives that center around care coordination and health information exchange (HIE) are being adopted in Kansas to improve care for people with co-occurring mental and physical health issues.

The solutions aim to share authorized clinical information and facilitate referrals between providers. Both will use care coordination technologies from Overland Park, Kansas.-based Netsmart to facilitate the information exchange process.

First, the Association of Community Mental Health Centers of Kansas (ACMHCK) has announced that its behavioral health-centered Health Homes will utilize Netsmart’s CareManager solution to streamline communication and monitor outcomes. Health Homes, a component of the Affordable Care Act, are teams of healthcare professionals responsible for coordinating integrated care across multiple providers.

Patients may have multiple chronic conditions including asthma, COPD, HIV, schizophrenia, depression, diabetes or a body mass index (BMI) over 25. By integrating primary care and behavioral health, Health Homes seek to improve both the quality of care and health outcomes. “The Kansas mental health system is shared between the state and the counties, and sharing is a big part of what makes the system work,” Kyle Kessler, executive director, ACMHCK, said in a statement. “Being able to come together under a single, standardized data platform will allow 23 member Health Homes to share information, coordinate care, and provide efficient, effective services to clients across the state.”

KanCare, the program through which the state of Kansas administers Medicaid, says it expects to implement Health Homes for the severe mentally ill (SMI) in the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, the Kansas Health Information Network (KHIN) has announced it is partnering with Netsmart to connect behavioral health and physical health communities using Netsmart’s CareConnect solution, which transmits protected health to statewide and regional providers through the KHIN HIE.

“The inclusion of physical and behavioral health care data together in KHIN has resulted in a more complete medical record for Kansas patients,” Kansas Health Information Network executive director Laura McCrary, said. “KHIN members feel strongly that complete data, including behavioral health data at the point of care, helps to ensure the safety of Kansas patients.”

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