Managing Anxiety Amid COVID-19

Tag Archives: Behavioral Health

Managing Anxiety Amid COVID-19

Managing Anxiety

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a lot of noise flooding our daily lives. As cases of COVID-19 continue to increase, so do cases of anxiety and worry. Everyone in the world has been indirectly or directly affected by this virus. It’s no secret by now COVID-19 has a far greater impact than just those who are diagnosed. The way our world lives and works has been altered in the past couple of months. The Kaiser Family Foundation reported in late April over half of U.S. adults (56%) COVID-19 stress or worry has had a negative impact on their mental health.

Now, possibly more than ever, the topic of mental health is growing in our country. Mental health literacy is gaining momentum in the United States media. A recent PsychU Webinar noted the loneliness epidemic was already prevalent in our culture. COVID-19 is helping the world to recognize this epidemic and increase resources available online to uplift people. Additionally, behavioral health professionals anticipate a reduced mental health stigma at the end of this pandemic. COVID-19 may result in greater overall recognition of behavioral health professionals.  

During this pandemic, individuals and practicing healthcare professionals alike, need reminders of ways to cope with anxiety and stress. Mental well being is just as important as your physical well being, especially during a time of crisis. 

Tips for Managing Anxiety During COVID-19

Changing the Narrative 

Instead of social distancing, think of physically distancing yourself with an enhancement of socially connecting. Shift the mindset of social distancing to physical distancing with an enhancement of social connection. Know what types of virtual social connections work best for you. Then, take time to incorporate appropriate social connections into your routine. For some, it may be calling a friend once a day or setting up a video call with friends each week. Whatever outlet you choose, connection with others is still vital during this time.

Take Note and Take Action

When worry begins turning into anxiety, take note and take action. When worry shows up frequently and with an intensity, it may be time to take action. Take a trusted mental health screening online. MHAscreening.org, for example, is an evidence-based technology and will transfer you to resources specific to screening results. When mental health is taking a toll on your everyday life, get connected to resources available to you. SAMHSA, additionally, has a free and confidential National Helpline for treatment referral and information services. The number is 1-800-662-HELP (4357). 

Avoid Anxiety Triggers

Recognize the outlets increasing your specific worry and anxiety. For example, it may be beneficial to limit screen and news intake. Make sure to stay informed and get the facts you need, but avoid media known to fabricate stories and bring on unnecessary worry. 

Take Control of What You Can

There are certain aspects of life we can take control of. Some parts of life and this virus are completely out of our control. Control the things you can each day and let go of the things you cannot control. Ask yourself: what is in my control today and what is out of my control? 

Here are some additional articles for tips on managing anxiety during COVID-19:

Specifically for Physicians 

Our healthcare heroes are specifically in need of support. The physicians on the frontline of this pandemic are likely to have many fears, pressures, and anxieties. A Philadelphia-based psychiatrist recently launched the Physician Support Line, to serve as “emotional personal protective equipment (PPE)” for physicians who may need it. Over 600 psychiatrists across the country volunteer to take shifts for the support line to be open each day from 8:00 AM to 12:00 AM EST. 

Know the Resources Available

Patagonia Health Resource Page

This pandemic will pass. In the meantime, know there are many resources available for you. COVID-19 will offer our world more tools to combat mental illness. Additionally, this time in history will show the importance of being proactive about physical and mental health. Remain hopeful, stay connected to those around you, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. As a Behavioral and Public Health EHR, we are here for you. We understand the hardships healthcare professionals are facing during these difficult times. If there is any way we can support you, please contact us today. 

Patagonia Health Featured in KLAS COVID-19 Technology Guide

KLAS Research's COVID-19 Technology Guide

KLAS Research recently highlighted Patagonia Health, a developer of Electronic Healthcare Record (EHR) software for Public and Behavioral Health, in their COVID-19 Technology and Services Solutions Guide. Patagonia Health rapidly developed a COVID-19 Risk Assessment and Public Health Decision Making Tool within their software, which led to their inclusion in the KLAS Insight Report. The report is a quick guide for healthcare organizations to choose a trusted technology partner who can act fast to support them during these unprecedented times.

Public Health professionals, Patagonia Health’s primary customer base, are on the front lines combating this virus. Local Public Health agencies are tasked with identifying cases of COVID-19 and working with government officials on how to advise the community on precautionary measures. Patagonia Health’s risk assessment and decision-making tool responded to this urgent need by developing a screening tool that automatically categorizes an individual’s risk of infection. Similar to screening tools developed during previous public health emergencies, such as the Ebola outbreak, the COVID-19 Risk Assessment tool follows CDC guidelines exactly. 

“In this time of crisis, our development team worked quickly to implement the COVID-19 Screening Assessment for Patagonia Health’s users,” says Ashok Mathur, Co-Founder and CEO, Patagonia Health, “We understand the importance of combating this pandemic as we work with public health professionals each day. We feel honored to be highlighted in such a prestigious report, such as KLAS during these unprecedented times.” 

Additionally, Patagonia Health worked with LabCorp to facilitate the distribution of COVID-19 test kits. Users who have the LabCorp bi-directional lab interface can order COVID-19 test kits directly through Patagonia Health EHR. COVID-19 ICD10 diagnostic and CPT codes are updated and available to users in the interface. The assessment tool is now available free of charge to all Patagonia Health EHR users. 

To read the entire KLAS report, click here.

About Patagonia Health, Inc.

Patagonia Health, Inc. is a healthcare software supplier with a cloud and apps-based software solution that is designed specifically for Public and Behavioral Health agencies. The solution includes an integrated, federally-certified, Electronic Health Record (EHR), Practice Management (PM) and Billing software. The company’s mission is to solve two major barriers to EHR adoption − usability and cost − and address customers’ number one problem: billing. Patagonia Health’s highly-intelligent solution is extremely easy to use and provides timely data for organizations to improve workflow, streamline operations and take their organizations to the next level. For more information, visit https://patagoniahealth.com.

Read the press release here: https://www.prweb.com/releases/patagonia_health_featured_in_klas_covid_19_technology_guide/prweb17054026.htm

COVID-19 Resources for Public & Behavioral Health

COVID-19 Resources

There is so much information out there about COVID-19. It’s nearly impossible to keep up with it all, and even harder to sort out the important information from the rest.

Because we know you’re overwhelmingly busy during these stressful times, we pulled together a list of resources and information that we thought would be helpful. While not exhaustive, we hope this list will help save you time and give you much needed information.

If there’s anything we can do to support you, please reach out to us.

Links for COVID-19 Resources

ONLINE INFORMATION:

CDC Official Updates on the COVID-19 (CDC)
COVID-19 Resources for Community Health Centers (NACHC)
Emergency Preparedness Resources for Health Centers (HRSA)
Tips for Social Distancing, Quarantine and Isolation (SAMHSA)
New Diagnosis Descriptions for COVID-19 (IMO)
COVID-19, Public Health, and Your EHR (Patagonia Health)
NEW: FAQs on Telehealth and HIPAA during COVID-19 (HHS)

PRINTABLE FLYERS and TOOLS:

Stop the Spread of Germs (CDC)
Symptoms of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (CDC)
When to Use a Mask (WHO)
Social Media Graphics and Flyers (PAHO)
NEW: Tips for Social Distancing (SAMHSA)
NEW: Virtual Recovery Resources (SAMHSA)
NEW: COVID-19 Public Health Toolkit (CDC Foundation)

Related News:

Becoming a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC): Part 2

How to Become a CCBHC, Part 2

We’re continuing our conversation surrounding the growing behavioral health model: CCBHC. Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics provide access to mental health and addiction services to vulnerable populations. No matter an individual’s ability to pay, these clinics provide comprehensive, integrated care. SAMHSA recently announced $200 million dollars available in expansion grants for the model.1 Our recent blog posts on this topic discussed what a CCBHC is and how to become a CCBHC. In part 2 of our discussion on becoming a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic, we’re looking at the 6 unique program requirements in depth.

CCBHC Program Requirements

The 6 program requirements for a CCBHCSAMHSA indicates 6 key program requirements. Each requirement is also described in the 2020 Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA). The FOA provides a comprehensive checklist for your organization to review. In short, the 6 requirements are as follows:

Staffing

With a model aimed to provide quality, integrated healthcare, the right professionals are the backbone for success. Qualified practitioners and dedicated staff are required when undergoing CCBHC transformation. Each clinic completes a needs assessment and staffing plan to begin. The needs assessment, which must be completed every 3 years, addresses gaps to be filled to provide care. Staff will also need to be appropriate in size according to the population the clinic serves. CCBHCs also require management staff to be in place for success. Based on the size, the clinic’s management team identifies roles such as Executive Director, Medical Director, etc. Additional staffing requirements include specific licensure and credentialing, cultural and linguistic competence, and other training.

Availability and Accessibility of Services

As CCBHCs predominantly serve the vulnerable Medicaid population, accessibility and availability must be central to the clinic. This includes the location and time of service. SAMHSA’s checklist ensures clinics have crisis management services, comprehensive evaluation of new clients, the ability to pay, and more in their availability of services. A clinic’s accessibility results in more people receiving care.

Care Coordination

Care coordination is the center of many integrated care models, working to see a client’s whole health story. SAMHSA defines care coordination as “bringing together various providers and information systems to coordinate health services, patient needs, and information to help better achieve the goals of treatment and care. Research shows that care coordination increases efficiency and improves clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction with care.”2 CCBHCs require certain formal contracts and partnerships between providers, services, and other forms of support. All care coordination requirements and specific agreements are defined in the formal funding announcement.

Scope of Services

As mentioned with care coordination, the center of this model is delivering person-centered care. This means the clinics provide or connect individuals with services that address all health needs. A broad scope of services intends to expand the availability of high-quality integrated care. At a minimum, the clinic must directly provide 4 of the required services. All other required services not directly provided by the CCBHC must be provided through a DCO. The checklist describes the required range of services in-depth to ensure clinics qualify.

The nine required services are:

  1. 24/7/365 crisis mental health services
  2. Screening and risk assessment
  3. Patient-centered treatment planning
  4. Outpatient mental health and substance use services
  5. Primary care screening and monitoring of key health indicators/health risk
  6. Targeted case management
  7. Psychiatric rehabilitation services
  8. Peer and family support
  9. Tailored care for active-duty military and veterans

Quality and Other Reporting for CCBHCs

To understand if a program is running as expected, it is important to conduct clinical quality measures. Data collection and reporting are essential to understanding if the model is succeeding. Reporting also identifies improvements necessary to achieve long term goals.  

Organization Authority, Governance, and Accreditation

Organization authority, governance, and accreditation are imperative to a clinic’s success. Strong leadership, finances, and accreditation guide a clinic’s effectiveness. Requirements also include diversity amongst board membership, auditing for annual funds, and more. 

While the list of requirements may seem overwhelming, the reward of becoming a CCBHC is high. This model is the forefront of integrated, behavioral healthcare. Being accepted for CCBHC grant funding is not a small feat, so it is important to plan ahead. Does your clinic have the right resources in place to be successful as a Certified Community Behavioral Health Center?

Resources Specific for CCBHCs

If your organization follows an integrated, comprehensive care model such as a CCBHC, your resources need to support the care you provide. Electronic Health Records play a critical role in meeting program requirements. Patagonia Health not only supports but easily automates, the unique reporting and billing that’s required when an organization becomes a CCBHC. To find out more about how our solution can support your organizational needs, contact us today.

In addition, visit the SAMHSA website to apply for the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic Expansion Grant.

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Resources

1 https://www.samhsa.gov/grants/grant-announcements/sm-20-012

2 https://www.integration.samhsa.gov/workforce/care-coordination

https://www.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/grants/pdf/fy-2020-ccbhc-foa.pdf

https://www.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/programs_campaigns/ccbhc-criteria.pdf

The National Council for Behavioral Health recently conducted a webinar to answer questions about the CCBHC funding announcement. The webinar covers program requirements and the difference between SAMHSA and Medicaid funding. Check it out here: https://zoom.us/rec/play/7pd-duj-qTs3GN3B4QSDVKB-W465Lfis1ikY_6cKyhy0B3EFM1WuZOZANOMgDTLEVx6w9gib6pwFKjv7?startTime=1580238082000

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Inside Behavioral Health: What is a CCBHC?

This month, SAMHSA announced $200 million is now available nationwide for the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) Expansion Grants. Not only is this a $50 million increase from 2019 funding, but it also advances the program to be available in all states. While clinics from all 50 states may apply for grants, SAMHSA indicates they will prioritize the 24 states that received CCBHC planning grants in 2016. To see if your state is included in the 24 receiving priority, please reference who is eligible for expansion grants from The National Council. The CCBHC model intends to provide more access to mental health and addiction services to vulnerable populations. With this increase in funding, more behavioral health care will become available to individuals nationwide. So, let’s back up: what is a CCBHC?

The CCBHC Model Defined

Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics provide a range of behavioral health services. They have a designated provider type in Medicaid, allowing them to receive enhanced reimbursements. The model began under the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014, which established a 2-year, eight-state initiative based on the Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Act1. The Excellence Act is centered on providing access to mental health and addiction services through CCBHCs while improving Medicaid reimbursement. Improved reimbursement rates allow more people in need to access necessary care. As an underserved population, Medicaid recipients struggling with complex mental health and substance use disorders often can’t access quality care. CCBHCs work not only to fill this gap but also to provide a comprehensive and integrated model for care. The hope behind the model is to provide stability, access, and necessary treatment for these vulnerable behavioral health patients.

As described by The National Council2, CCBHCs must provide the following nine comprehensive care requirements:

  1. 24/7/365 crisis mental health services
  2. Screening and risk assessment
  3. Patient-centered treatment planning
  4. Outpatient mental health and substance use services
  5. Primary care screening and monitoring of key health indicators/health risk
  6. Targeted case management
  7. Psychiatric rehabilitation services
  8. Peer and family support
  9. Tailored care for active-duty military and veterans

SAMHSA3 states they expect “this program will provide comprehensive 24/7 access to community-based mental and substance use disorder services; treatment of co-occurring disorders; and physical healthcare in one single location.”

Who Receives Care at a CCBHC?

Any individual in need of behavioral health services can receive care at a CCBHC. This includes, but is not limited to, individuals with mild to serious mental illness, long-term chronic addiction, and substance use disorders. The enhanced Medicaid payment method allows organizations to receive reimbursements more effectively. Prior to this model, it was difficult for Medicaid-recipients to receive quality behavioral health coverage. Therefore, Medicaid-recipients largely benefit from care at CCBHCs. Additionally, CCBHCs provide care to individuals, regardless of their ability to pay. CCBHCs provide service to those who are insured, uninsured, and on Medicaid.

How to Become a CCBHC:

SAMHSA describes 6 program requirements for CCBHCs. The 2020 Funding Opportunity Announcement defines the following requirements:

SAMHSA has 6 program requirements to become a CCBHC
  • Staffing
  • Availability and accessibility of services
  • Care coordination
  • Scope of services
  • Quality and other reporting
  • Organization authority, governance, and accreditation

If your organization meets these requirements, visit the SAMHSA website to apply for the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic Expansion Grant.

Resources to Help CCBHCs

If your organization follows an integrated, comprehensive care model such as a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic, your resources need to support the care you provide. For example, CCBHCs have specific procedure codes for billing. SAMHSA also requires particular reporting for CCBHCs, including certain data selection and performance measurements. Electronic Health Records play a critical role in these billing and reporting requirements. Patagonia Health not only supports but easily automates the unique reporting and billing that’s required when an organization becomes a CCBHC. To find out more about how our solution can support your organizational needs, contact us today.

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Resources:

1 https://www.thenationalcouncil.org/topics/excellence-in-mental-health-act/

2 https://www.thenationalcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/What-is-a-CCBHC-11.7.17.pdf

3 https://www.samhsa.gov/grants/grant-announcements/sm-20-012

https://www.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/programs_campaigns/ccbhc-criteria.pdf