Nearly All New Jerseyeans Know Someone Struggling with a Mental Health or Substance Use Condition. A New Program is Making It Easier Than Ever to Get Help.
Anxiety, depression, ADD/ADHD, addiction, eating disorders and other mental health concerns will affect nearly half of all adults at some point in their lifetime. Yet more than half of those with mental health issues will go without treatment—with devastating physical and emotional effects for themselves and their loved ones. The problems hit close to home: A study by Mental Health America, the nation’s leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness, ranks New Jersey in the bottom half of all states when it comes to the access its residents have to mental health care. New Jerseyans deserve better.
By Suzanne Kunis, Director, Behavioral Health Solutions
Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders Cost New Jerseyans More Than Their Health
Research shows that serious mental illness costs Americans $193 billion in lost pay every year. What’s more, people with mental health conditions make six times as many emergency room visits and submit two to four times as many medical claims. As many New Jerseyans know all too well, these visits and claims often come with expensive co-pays and out-of-pocket costs.
Improving Access to Mental Health-Services at Every Step
Many who seek mental health care often have a hard time from the get-go—they can’t find an in-network doctor or therapist who can help them. Horizon is continually looking at ways to improve access to services through vehicles such as telehealth and urgent appointment access with providers. A program recently released in 2018 by Horizon also aims to address the issue of access. Horizon has contracted Quartet Health, an independent company that uses patients’ own medical history and real-time assessments to identify those who might have an underlying mental health condition. Leveraging Horizon’s in-network relationships with mental health providers, Quartet uses technology to match patients with in-network providers who are best suited to meet their needs and, importantly, who are able to see or treat that patient quickly.
As Jon Shaw, Vice President of Business Development at Quartet, says, “Horizon isn’t waiting for those problems to boil to the surface, it's using the power of the data contained within millions of health records to reach members at risk and help them get the care they need to achieve their best health.”
With Quartet, we routinely have information from behavioral health providers, I think it’s going to be the model of the future.
A Promising Start
Over the last year, Quartet’s program has proactively identified more than 2,000 Horizon members it suspects have an underlying, undiagnosed behavioral health need and connected those patients to an in-network behavioral health professional. Another 1,000 patients have been referred by their primary care doctor for screening and treatment and 518 behavioral health providers have signed up
Beyond making it easier for patients to get the care they need, Quartet’s online platform also enables real-time collaboration between a patient’s physician and mental health provider to ensure ongoing coordination of care.
“With Quartet, we routinely have information from behavioral health providers,” Dr. George Ambrosio said. Dr. Ambrosio is the Medical Director of FirstCare Medical Group, a large primary care practice with offices in Lyndhurst and Verona, New Jersey. Dr. Ambrosio believes that Quartet will make the integration of medical and mental health care the rule instead of the exception. “I think it’s going to be the model of the future,” he said.