MHANJ’s Carolyn Beauchamp and Others Address NJ Spotlight Conference About Mental Health and Physical Healthcare
Earlier this month, NJSpotlight sponsored a conference and panel discussion on cities entitled “How Garden State Can Achieve ‘Integrated’ Healthcare.” The event took place on October 14, 2016 in Newark.
NJ Spotilight reporter Lilo Stanton wrote “Integrating physical and behavioral care can improve health outcomes for patients and greatly reduce costs over time, research has proven.”
A panel spoke about what New Jersey is doing around managed care. Panelists included:
- Sen. Joseph Vitale (D-Middlesex), longtime chair of the Senate health committee;
- Carolyn Beauchamp, president and CEO of the Mental Health Association in New Jersey;
- Greg Paulson, executive director of the Trenton Health Team; and
- Barbara Mintz, vice-president for wellness at RWJ/Barnabas.
Monarch Housing Associates recently partnered with the Mental Health Association in New Jersey on its annual Walk for Wellness and Recovery.
Beauchamp of the MHAINJ planned to “Discuss what she’s learned from three decades of advocacy for those who struggle with behavioral health issues. (Patients with serious mental illness die an average of a quarter-century earlier than those without, studies have shown, largely because they have chronic diseases that don’t get properly treated.)”
Separate studies have shown that individuals with mental illness experiencing homelessness can stabilize their lives if they are given permanent supportive housing with appropriate support services. The support services can help them manage both their mental health and physical illnesses. Individuals experiencing homelessness often reside in urban areas where there can be better access to homeless services.
“A report released in March by researchers at Seton Hall University found that despite a number of recent efforts by state regulators to improve coordination between behavioral and physical care providers, significant regulatory and systemic hurdles remain. The issue is particularly important for New Jersey’s urban areas, which are home to some of the state’s most chronically ill individuals.”
The Seton Hall report found that if a patient seeks care at a mental health clinic, that clinic usually cannot treat any chronic physical conditions that individual might have. And a similar scenario plays out at the Federally Qualified Health Centers frequented by low income individuals who also have mental illness – these centers often do not provide treatment for mental illness.
The Trenton Health Team coordinates the work of hospitals, doctors, clinics and community groups to create “a more comprehensive system of care in the capital city.” Paulson’s group “Received $1 million in state funding last year to help expand its work as an Accountable Care Organization.” This system of care can help prevent the gaps in care that usually might occur.