Posted on September 19, 2016 by Enrique Mata
Some have said that El Paso organizations do not collaborate well. In fact, a 2014 assessment of the El Paso behavioral health system showed ‘the biggest challenge confronting El Paso’s behavioral health system was fragmentation and lack of program collaboration.’ Over the past 24 months, I’ve witnessed exactly the opposite as the El Paso Behavioral Health Consortium partners came together at all levels to address known gaps in the mental and behavioral healthcare system.
True collaboration requires organizations to exchange information for mutual benefit, alter activities, share resources, and work to enhance each other’s capacity to achieve a common purpose. It can take years for such cross-organizational trust to be built. The good news is that El Paso leaders, champions from all sectors, are working hard to achieve true collaboration and build a comprehensive “ideal” system of care focused on delivering high quality services where and when they are needed. This ideal system includes the integration of mental health and addiction services into primary care settings. In 2014, the El Paso Behavioral Health Consortium used the system assessment recommendations to form leadership councils. These councils are connecting with existing groups and key partners to help address identified gaps and build better continuity of care for patients and families.
Changes at state and national levels resulting from the Affordable Care Act and the Mental Health Parity Act are leading to additional benefits under Medicaid managed care plans and other health plans. These changes, coupled with community visionaries who are implementing organizational policy and practice changes, bring new opportunities for El Paso to improve care options, but only if we as a community collaborate.
Atul Gawande a noted Boston surgeon and New Yorker writer stated that “all healthcare is local” and that the current healthcare system was built for a world that had fewer, simpler solutions. He added, “if you watch the day-to-day experience of what it is to take care of people, you realize that the deepest root of our struggle is the complexity of what we are trying to pull off.” His comments reinforce how important it is for community organizations and agencies including private for profit corporations, educational institutions, government and nonprofits, to build and maintain trust and a focus on meeting the health needs of patients and their families.
Working with the El Paso Behavioral Health Consortium, I’ve met lots of local heroes. Leaders in their fields, university professors, school counselors, elected officials, law enforcement officers, business owners, and many others. They get up every morning and don’t just to do their jobs, they take that extra leap of trust to bring forth ideas for improvements to implement in their workplace or in collaboration with other organizations.
I hope you will join me to learn about the progress being made by the El Paso Behavioral Consortium at their September event. A special thanks to the current and future El Paso Behavioral Health Consortium partners for this vital collaboration.
To learn more about the El Paso Behavioral Health Consortium visit:
To learn more about mental illness treatment and support services:
Emergence Health Network Crisis Line: (915) 779-1800 www.emergencehealthnetwork.org
National Alliance on Mental Illness - El Paso http://namiep.org/
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline -1-800-273-8255, http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
Veterans Crisis Line - (800) 273-8255, Press 1
Crisis Text Line – Text – 741741
U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration [SAMHSA] (800) 662- 4357 http://www.samhsa.gov/
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