Southwest Behavioral Health Services will work with National Council expert consultants from MTM Services to help persons seeking public mental health and addiction treatment access services quickly and easily. Over the next 12 months, Southwest Behavioral Health Services will assess and redesign their intake and assessment processes to reduce client wait times. Improved access to care has been proven to reduce no-shows and cancellations and better engage persons in treatment and recovery.
The Same Day Access Initiative is timely as behavioral health organizations prepare for greater demand for services with the implementation of parity and healthcare reform. With extreme wait times for patients reaching nearly 300 days at some organizations, a central goal of the initiative is for patients to get appointments for care with their providers when they want them. Studies have found that the longer patients have to wait to get appointments, the more likely they are to cancel or not show up. While a same-day appointment has a 10 percent chance of not being kept, almost a fourth of patients with next- day appointments do not show up.
“There are no downsides to implementing this model,” said Sue Ann Atkerson, Vice President of Outpatient Services at Southwest Behavioral Health Services. “It means more timely service for clients, reduced administrative burden for staff, and improvement in the overall efficiency of the organization.”
Healthcare organizations that have participated in the National Council's Access Redesign initiatives in recent years have seen a 60% reduction in consumer wait times, a 39% reduction in cost of access to treatment process, a 34% reduction in staff time needed per access to treatment event, an increase in referrals from primary care practices, and an average of over $200,000 in annual savings in access to care costs per organization.
The Same Day Access Initiative also plays a part in the move toward integration of primary and behavioral healthcare. Says Atkerson, “Moving to this model better positions us to partner with health settings in an integrated care environment.”
Incorporated in 1974 as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, Southwest Behavioral Health Services provides services in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, Payson, Buckeye, Apache Junction, and Northern Arizona. Our mission: “We inspire people to feel better and reach their potential. Through helping people discover their strengths, we improve our communities.”
The National Council is a not-for-profit, 501(c)3 association of 1,950 community healthcare organizations that provide treatment and rehabilitation for mental illnesses and addictions disorders to nearly eight million adults, children and families in communities across the country. Learn more at http://www.TheNationalCouncil.org.
Sue Ann Atkerson
Vice President of Outpatient Services
Phone: (602) 285-4287
Fax: (602) 265-8377
Director of Communications & Events
Phone: (602) 285-4283
Fax: (602) 265-8377