UPMC Center for High-Value Health Care Awarded Major Research Contract

PITTSBURGH, Jan. 7, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- A study by the UPMC Center for High-Value Health Care to determine if a model of patient-centered mental health treatment is more effective  than measurement-based treatment for people with serious mental illness has been approved for funding  by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI).

The study – "Amplifying the Patient's Voice: Person-Centered Versus Measurement-Based Approaches in Mental Health" – is a project that will build on prior work done by Community Care Behavioral Health Organization (Community Care) and Patricia Deegan, Ph.D., an innovator and thought leader in mental health recovery. It will involve up to 3,000 adults who have Medicaid as their health insurance and receive medication treatment at one of 14 community mental health clinics across Pennsylvania.

"Shared decision making is a strategy that could improve the interaction between providers and people with serious mental health conditions," said principal investigator, Kim MacDonald-Wilson, Sc.D., of the UPMC Center for High-Value Health Care, who is an adjunct assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Senior Director of Recovery and Wellness Transformation at Community Care. "Our study will explore how technology can be used in the care process to amplify the voice of the person in care, support shared decision making, and improve patient-centered outcomes."

This award marks the second PCORI contract in two years secured by the UPMC Center for High-Value Health Care, which is housed under the UPMC Insurance Services Division. The UPMC Center for High-Value Health Care was one of 65 health-related agencies in 23 states and Washington, D.C., and Quebec, approved for funding from PCORI in 2013.

The UPMC Center for High-Value Health Care has been approved for $2.1 million from PCORI to conduct a three-year study. That money will be shared with the partners on the contract:  Community Care, the largest not-for-profit behavioral health managed care organization in the country; Pat Deegan PhD & Associates, LLC, an organization committed to creating and disseminating technologies to support the recovery of people diagnosed with mental illness; and the Dartmouth Psychiatric Research Center, an academic research group committed to translating science into routine practice.

"This study reflects the true spirit of PCORI by directly involving patients, providers, and other key stakeholders in all aspects of the research," said Donna Keyser, Ph.D., MBA, Senior Director of the UPMC Center for High-Value Health Care. "Our goal is to understand how technology can be used to support shared decision making in ways that work best for patients."

Fifteen minutes is the typical length of an outpatient medication management appointment for people with serious mental health conditions. These brief interactions with prescribers are often provider-driven and little time is spent focusing on the patient's individual needs and personal recovery. Shared decision making is considered to be a strategy that could improve the interaction, although little is known about its impact on outcomes that matter most to patients with serious mental illness. This study will compare two evidence-based, technology-supported strategies to determine which works best for individuals with serious mental illness and under what circumstances.

"People can recover from mental health conditions and this study will help us understand how technology can support effective treatment and help folks meet their goals of returning to work, school, and a full life in the community," said Dr. Deegan.

James Gavin, President and CEO of Community Care, said that this contract from PCORI "validates our focus on shared decision making and supporting our members in efforts to reach their recovery goals."

The awards were made by PCORI, an independent, non-profit organization authorized by Congress to fund research that will provide patients, their caregivers and clinicians with the evidence-based information needed to make better-informed healthcare decisions. All awards are approved pending completion of a business and programmatic review by PCORI staff and issuance of a formal award contract.  

About UPMC Center for High-Value Health Care
The UPMC Center for High-Value Health Care is dedicated to translating the innovative work of UPMC into evidence-based practice and policy change for improving the quality and efficiency of U.S. health care. UPMC is a global health enterprise and one of the nation's largest integrated delivery and financing systems. UPMC is a top provider of medical care and, through its UPMC Insurance Services Division, the company provides health care insurance services, behavioral health services, and a range of employee solutions such as employee assistance programs. Through the Center, UPMC and the Insurance Services Division expect to advance the boundaries of efficient system-wide solutions for important health care challenges in our region and across the nation. For more information, visit http://www.upmchighvaluehealthcare.com.  

About UPMC Health Plan
UPMC Health Plan, the second-largest health insurer in western Pennsylvania, is owned by UPMC, an integrated global health enterprise. The integrated partner companies of the UPMC Insurance Services Division – which includes UPMC Health Plan, UPMC WorkPartners, LifeSolutions (EAP), UPMC for You (Medical Assistance), and Community Care Behavioral Health – offer a full range of group health insurance, Medicare, Special Needs, CHIP, Medical Assistance, behavioral health, employee assistance, and workers' compensation products and services to nearly 2.2 million members. Our local provider network includes UPMC as well as community providers, totaling more than 135 hospitals and more than 11,500 physicians throughout Pennsylvania and parts of Ohio, West Virginia, and Maryland. For more information, visit www.upmchealthplan.com.

About Community Care
Community Care, a nonprofit, tax-exempt recovery-focused behavioral health managed care organization headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania manages mental health and substance use disorder services for approximately 700,000 Medical Assistance recipients in Pennsylvania. Community Care also serves as the behavioral health organization for the Hudson River Region of New York State. Part of UPMC, Community Care was incorporated in 1996 with a mission to improve the health and well-being of the community through the delivery of effective and accessible behavioral health services.

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is an independent, non-profit organization authorized by Congress in 2010. Its mission is to fund research that will provide patients, their caregivers and clinicians with the evidence-based information needed to make better-informed health care decisions. PCORI is committed to continuously seeking input from a broad range of stakeholders to guide its work. More information is available at www.pcori.org.



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