Archived Story

Costs for mental-health services rise

Published 4:59pm Thursday, June 20, 2013

East Carolina Behavioral Health increased some of its rates for several critical services and improving access to its services.

East Carolina Behavioral Health provides mental-health services to 19 eastern North Carolina counties, including Beaufort County.

“Toincreaseaccesstoservicesandassistproviders inhiringandkeepingcliniciansandother qualified staff tobetterserveconsumers,ECBH will beincreasingratesfor fivecriticalservices. Formanyproviders,thiswillrepresent thefirst rateincreaseinmorethansix yearsand

follows fiveyearsof decliningrates,” according to an ECBH document.

“Ultimately, our mission is to provide the most comprehensive array of services that meet the needs that exist for mental health, substance abuse and intellectual and developmental disabilities. So, for a number of these, the rates were not adequate to cover the actual costs of the services,” said ECBH spokeswoman Georgia Claxton. “This (increase) helps attract additional clinicians to the area with that enhanced rate. It makes it more attractive to some clinicians. Places like Greenville, Washington, New Bern and Elizabeth City don’t have the same deficit of providers as in other communities that we cover. Because we cover 19 counties, there are some communities, because they are so small, they really can’t attract someone to live in that community to provide that service.”

The services with rate increases are:

• Psychological testing performed by licensed clinical psychologists and licensed clinical psychologists. The rates increased by 10 percent.

• Personal-care services increased by 16 percent. Those services help people with activities such as bathing, feeding and getting dressed.

• The rate for peer-support specialists increased by 7 percent. Peer-support specialists are people with lived experience who have received special training that qualifies them to help others with mental illness and/or substance-use disorders learn to live successfully in the community.

• For facility-based crisis and detoxification services, rates increased to cover the full costs of the services provided at each facility.

Aside fromincreasingratesforexistingservices, ECBH isencouragingthegrowthof evidence-basedandpromising practicesby offering free trainingby nationallyrecognized expertstoprovidersaswellasrateincentivesfornew services.  Evidence-based practicesare services that havebeenproven towork in scientific trials.  Tobe calledanevidence-based practicetheservicemustberecognized bytheNationalRegistryof Evidence-BasedPrograms andPractices.

“By thinkingoutsidetheboxtodevelop thesetypesof innovativestrategies,” said Leza Wainwright, ECBH’s executive director. “ECBHseeks toincreasethequality andeffectivenessof theservices peoplein ourarea receive. That isourresponsibility andour commitment.”

The new services include:

DialecticalBehavioralTherapy. DBT isanevidence-basedpractice that has beenproven toeffectively treatborderline personality disorder. ECBH identified thatmany people whohadexperiencedmultiplehospitalizations havebeendiagnosedwithborderlinepersonalitydisorder.DBTwillprovidemore effective,lesscostly servicein the community, according to ECBH.

• StructuredSensory InterventionsforTraumatized Children,Adolescents andtheir Parents.Manyproblemschildrenandadolescentsexperiencecanbe traced backtoatraumatic event.SIT-CAPaddresses theroot-causeof those problems byrecognizingthattraumaaffectsthesenses.

• IntensiveAlternativeFamily Treatment. IAFTisapromisingpracticethat servesasanalternative toinpatient orgrouphomecare for children withserious emotionaldisturbances.Itallows childrentobe treatedinafamilysettingin the community, where theycanattendschoolandengagein othercommunity activities.

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