Costs for mental-health services rise

Published 4:59 pm 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.  Evidencebased practicesare services that havebeenproven towork in scientific trials.  Tobe calledanevidence-based practicetheservicemustberecognized bytheNationalRegistryof EvidenceBasedPrograms 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 isanevidencebasedpractice 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.SITCAPaddresses theroot-causeof those problems byrecognizingthattraumaaffectsthesenses.

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

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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