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Eye On Boise

Three state H&W initiatives…

Idaho H&W chief Dick Armstrong this morning highlighted three “important state initiatives” that are coming in the next year:

Behavioral health community crisis centers for those with mental health or substance abuse disorders. Three are initially proposed around the state next year, with plans to expand to seven “based on success and the cost of the pilots,” Armstrong said. “The goal is to reduce incarceration … used inappropriately, because there are few alternatives for law enforcement who are answering behavioral health calls.”

A child welfare pilot project to reduce foster care entries. Idaho has been chosen as the state to pilot this program, which is funded by a five-year federal grant. The idea is to fund in-home preventive services that allow children to safely remain at home while problems are being addressed, rather than being placed into foster care. “We believe it will result in improved long-term outcomes for Idaho children,” Armstrong told the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee. “If this is successful, we could see a change at the national level for funding in all states.”

The State Healthcare Innovation Plan, or SHIP. “This is not a Department of Health & Welfare Program,” Armstrong said, though federal funding is flowing through the agency. “It really is a partnership with health care providers, insurers and participants to transform the health care model … from paying for volume of visits to paying for improved patient outcomes.” The approach involves a primary care physician overseeing all the services provided to his or her patients in a “medical home” model, with all providers using electronic health records to ensure there’s no duplication of services, collect treatment and outcome data, and identify best practices and encourage the most effective care.

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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