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Tug Hill/Seaway Valley Behavioral Healthcare Collaborative Enhances Quality of Care, Improves Client Outcomes

Updated: Feb 14

In 2017, five regional community-based behavioral health entities formed the Tughill/Seaway Valley Behavioral Healthcare Collaborative (BHCC), representing one out of 18 BHCC netwo

rks participating in New York State’s Behavioral Health Value-Based Payment (BHVBP) program. The entities comprising the Tughill/Seaway BHCC include lead agency, Children’s Home of Jefferson County (CHJC), Credo Community Center, Transitional Living Services of Northern New York (TLS), Northern Regional Center for Independent Living, and Mental Health Association of Jefferson County.

Overseen by the Office of Mental Health (OMH) and Office of Addiction and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS), a primary goal of the New York State BHVBP program was to prepare behavioral health providers to take part in value-based healthcare through enhanced quality of care and improved client outcomes. Value-based healthcare incentivizes providers to implement workflow changes to identify and address gaps in care, thereby improving quality and reducing the cost of care through a reduction in avoidable hospitalizations.

“The BHCC is an example of our partners’ commitment to quality behavioral healthcare in Northern New York,” explains Erika Flint, Executive Director of Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization. “These efforts mean better care and improved access for behavioral health services for clients in the region.”

The BHCC’s earlier work positioned it to participate in the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act enhanced Federal Medical Assistance Program (eFMAP). The Program supports the NYS behavioral health delivery system by supporting the development and implementation of innovative strategies further supporting increased quality, integrated behavioral health and physical care, and value-based reimbursement strategies. The Tughill/Seaway Valley BHCC Partners engaged FDRPHO to formulate a workplan and implement improvement initiatives for five state-identified performance measures. These measures are:

  • Increase in Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) Medication Initiation

  • Increase in Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) Medication Adherence

  • Decrease in ER Utilization

  • Increase in Behavioral Health Rehabilitation Services Utilization

  • Increase in 30-day Follow-Up After Hospitalization for Mental Illness

Though improvement in only one of the above measures was required, within the first six-month performance period, the Tughill/Seaway BHCC successfully achieved improvement in four out of five measures. The BHCC saw improvements in these measures ranging from 2.4% to 8.2%.

“The results of this program demonstrate the significant impact regional, community-based behavioral health providers have as they work collaboratively to deliver quality, outcome-based care,” explains Dr. Marianne DiMatteo, President & CEO of CHJC.

As a result of these value-based readiness activities, in collaboration with regional primary care partners and hospital-systems in the Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence County Tughill/Seaway region, the five BHCC organizations are now actively participating in the North Country Independent Practice Association (IPA), which has value-based arrangements with Medicaid Managed Care organizations.   

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