Vermont Business Magazine OneCare Vermont, a Vermont Accountable Care Organization, announced today a major investment in an innovative pilot program to improve the quality of mental health and substance use treatment services for residents of two Burlington area housing communities specializing in the coordination of care and services for older adults and those with special needs.
Working in collaboration with the Howard Center and SASH® (Supports and Services at Home) at Cathedral Square, the program will deliver an improved health care experience to residents of two affordable housing sites by locating a Howard Center clinician there full time.
“We are pleased to collaborate with OneCare and SASH to provide mental health services for seniors and individuals with special needs who wish to receive services in their homes. The embedded clinical care that Howard Center will provide at two Cathedral Square communities will ensure residents are receiving timely care, with a goal of fewer avoidable emergency room visits," said Catherine Simonson, Chief Client Services Officer at the Howard Center.
The role of this SASH Community Based Clinician located in affordable housing sites will be to promote emotional wellness to all participants and residents while having the flexibility to provide more intensive individual therapeutic supports to individuals in need. The clinician will play a role in enhancing already existing services provided by the SASH staff with providing both individual and group therapeutic support as well as participate in care coordination and treatment planning.
“The pilot program will provide easy access to flexible team-based supports, including direct one-on-one support and group-based programming,” said Molly Dugan, director of SASH.
The program is part of OneCare’s campaign to improve how healthcare is delivered to Vermonters by using value-based service models instead of fee for service, also known as the All Payer Model.
“This is a natural next step for OneCare, and for Vermont,” said Sara Barry, director of Clinical and Quality Improvement at OneCare Vermont. “We know that one way to achieve population health is to focus on people in their homes and communities. We are meeting people who need our help where they are. We know this is where people are spending their time, so what we are now addressing is, how do we increase the knowledge of staff on site, and the quality of counseling and mental health services?”
The pilot, for older adults with disabilities who experience mental health and substance use conditions, will test the effectiveness of locating mental health practitioners and prevention resources on site, bringing care to the patients.
“This pilot program will enhance the existing community partner based SASH model,” said Deborah Bouton, Director of Outreach and Marketing at Cathedral Square. “The existing SASH model already provides comprehensive team-based care and prevention programs to help participants stay healthy in their homes. We are looking to build on this program and make it even better.”
Nearly 5,000 people in Vermont rely on the acclaimed SASH program, which uses the state’s affordable-housing network as a platform to support healthy aging at home through services coordinated with nonprofit housing organizations, Area Agencies on Aging, Home Health organizations, community mental health and developmental services organizations and primary care health providers. Formal partnerships among these organizations provide for efficient sharing of information and regular team meetings.
OneCare Vermont will establish a standard process for soliciting and evaluating initiatives for funding that improve the health of the patients of the entire provider network. OneCare will also partner with Vermont communities to support activities that meet the needs of their specific patient populations.
This pilot program, with an initial investment from OneCare of $97,000, intends to serve up to 200 residents and seeks to achieve a number of outcomes including shortened timeframes to access mental health services, reduced avoidable emergency room visits, improved patient experiences, and enhanced inter-agency team coordination. The pilot began on November 1 and will continue through December 31, 2018.
About OneCare Vermont ACO
OneCare Vermont is a state-wide Accountable Care Organization (ACO) working with Medicare, Vermont Medicaid and the Commercial Exchange Programs to improve the health of Vermonters. OneCare Vermont comprises an extensive network of providers, including hospitals in Vermont and New Hampshire, hundreds of primary and specialty care physicians and advance practice providers, federally qualified health centers, and several rural health clinics. OneCare coordinates the health care for more than 100,000 combined Medicare, Medicaid and Commercial Exchange Vermont members.
The Howard Center
Each year, Howard Center helps more than 16,000 people in over 60 locations and six counties with their mental health needs, substance use conditions, and developmental disabilities. Howard Center’s 24/7/365 mobile crisis service, First Call for Chittenden County, relies on one team and one number, 802-488-7777, to meet the needs of Chittenden County children, adults, and families in crisis. Howard Center is a funded agency of the United Way of Northwest Vermont. www.howardenter.org. Help is here.
Cathedral Square Corporation is a nonprofit organization founded in Burlington, Vermont, in 1977. It is a national leader in the development of affordable, service-enriched housing for seniors and individuals with special needs, with nearly 30 affordable housing communities in Chittenden and Franklin counties. It also is state administrator of the nationally recognized SASH® (Support and Services at Home) program, which it created and piloted in 2009.
Support and Services at Home uses housing as a platform to provide group and one-on-one supports to older adults and people with disabilities so they can stay healthy and “age in place” at home. Based in affordable-housing communities throughout Vermont, SASH connects participants with providers in home health, aging services, mental health and addiction services, community health and primary care as needed, with the goal of avoiding unnecessary hospitalizations and nursing care. SASH has been documented to improve health outcomes while saving Medicare expenses. Developed by Cathedral Square and available statewide since 2011, SASH is starting to be replicated by other states.
Source: OneCare Vermont. Colchester. 11.17.2017