Health Plans Answer Surgeon General's Call on Mental Health; Managed Care Community Focused on Better Diagnosis and Treatment of Depression

Model Programs Show Significant Results According to New Report

Featured in Healthplan Magazine



Apr 02, 2001, 01:00 ET from American Association of Health Plans from ,American Managed Behavioral

    WASHINGTON, April 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Responding to a call from U.S. Surgeon
 General David Satcher for improved mental health care, America's health plans
 report significant gains in diagnosing and treating depression, according to a
 report released today by the American Association of Health Plans (AAHP) and
 the American Managed Behavioral Healthcare Association (AMBHA).  The report,
 Approaches to Depression Care, showcases model programs in place at some of
 the nation's top health plans.
     A new report by the prestigious Institute of Medicine (IOM) said improving
 health care quality requires greater use of multidisciplinary teams as well as
 a systematized approach to treatment, precisely the elements that are
 producing results for patients in managed care plans.
     "The IOM report urges more collaboration among health professionals and
 more coordinated care. Approaches to Depression Care (the AAHP/AMBHA report)
 demonstrates how health plans are putting IOM's recommendations into practice
 and achieving improvements," said Karen Ignagni, AAHP President and CEO.
     AMBHA's Executive Director, Pamela Greenberg, added that "sharing of best
 practices in treating and preventing depression allows plans across the
 country to replicate the successes of other programs, improving care for
 thousands, maybe millions, of people."
     The report, featured in the latest edition of Healthplan magazine, is part
 of an AAHP series called "Advancing Women's Health."  The series has examined
 best practices in breast cancer treatment, osteoporosis/mid-life issues,
 domestic abuse, and prenatal care.
     Later this year, a consumer version of the report will be published
 featuring "10 Questions for Women to Ask Health Plans about Programs for
 Diagnosing and Treating Depression."  Questions are aimed at identifying to
 what extent a health plan incorporates key features of the model programs
 showcased in Approaches to Depression Care:
 
     Keystone Health Plan Central established a free, anonymous telephonic
 service that allows members to screen themselves for signs of depression.
 Available 24 hours a day, it also allows members to be transferred for further
 assessment and referral to a behavioral health practitioner.  One key to
 success is giving members immediate access to care in a time of need. In a
 two-year period, the plan noted a 20 percent increase in the number of people
 with a new episode of depression who remained on their antidepressant
 medication for at least six months.
 
     PacifiCare Behavioral Health, Inc. offers members telephonic depression
 screening and a program called "Taking Charge of Depression," in which members
 receive telephonic coaching designed to enhance treatment compliance.  The
 program is successful because members and providers alike find the program
 easy-to-use, engaging, and helpful.  Treatment compliance has risen with each
 of the interventions offered.
 
     Humana, Inc., (in cooperation with Magellan Behavioral Health) developed a
 program aimed at increasing the rate of detection and treatment of postpartum
 depression, which affects up to 15% of new mothers.  Magellan mails new
 mothers identified by Humana through its Humana Beginning Program packets that
 include a screening tool, a brochure about postpartum depression, and a toll-
 free number for immediate care.  Over 40 percent of new mothers who are
 identified as being at risk for depression participate in the program.
 
     The Group Health Cooperative in Seattle has developed Depression Roadmap
 based on scientific evidence identifying and focusing on the elements of
 depression care that have the greatest chance of getting patients better.
 These guidelines promote optimal care, and help the plan identify ways to make
 continual improvements in the system of care.  The Roadmap emphasizes teaching
 providers to make an accurate diagnosis and provide adequate follow-up using
 an electronic registry that alerts the provider if a patient is overdue for a
 visit or has stopped taking their antidepressant medication.
 
     Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield in New Hampshire has examined barriers to
 successful implementation of mental health services.  Anthem recently
 conducted a series of physician surveys, and then enlisted the support of
 physician leaders to identify ways to improve provider recognition of
 depression in their patients and to promote more appropriate use of
 antidepressant medications.
 
     Kaiser Permanente spearheaded a national alliance of researchers,
 clinicians, advocacy groups, and business leaders that has resulted in 18
 projects to develop and evaluate new models of care for depression.  A nurse
 telecare program used inside Kaiser Permanente and now elsewhere in the
 country, is one of them.  In a randomized trial, this nurse telecare approach,
 which emphasizes behavioral modification and care coordination, demonstrated
 significant reductions in symptoms and improvements in functioning and patient
 satisfaction when used in conjunction with appropriate medication.
 
     Approaches to Depression Care is available at http://www.aahp.org under
 Patient Care, News and Newsletters.
     Depression is not a gender-specific illness, but there are important
 differences between men and women. Nearly twice as many women are affected by
 depression each year and, over a lifetime, women are more than twice as likely
 as men to suffer a major depression.
 
     AAHP is the largest national trade organization representing HMOs, PPOs,
 and other similar health plans that provide coverage to more than 140 million
 Americans.
 
     AMBHA represents the nation's leading managed behavioral healthcare
 organizations.  These organizations provide insurance coverage for treatment
 of mental health and substance use disorders to over 110 million individuals.
 
 

SOURCE American Association of Health Plans; American Managed Behavioral
    WASHINGTON, April 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Responding to a call from U.S. Surgeon
 General David Satcher for improved mental health care, America's health plans
 report significant gains in diagnosing and treating depression, according to a
 report released today by the American Association of Health Plans (AAHP) and
 the American Managed Behavioral Healthcare Association (AMBHA).  The report,
 Approaches to Depression Care, showcases model programs in place at some of
 the nation's top health plans.
     A new report by the prestigious Institute of Medicine (IOM) said improving
 health care quality requires greater use of multidisciplinary teams as well as
 a systematized approach to treatment, precisely the elements that are
 producing results for patients in managed care plans.
     "The IOM report urges more collaboration among health professionals and
 more coordinated care. Approaches to Depression Care (the AAHP/AMBHA report)
 demonstrates how health plans are putting IOM's recommendations into practice
 and achieving improvements," said Karen Ignagni, AAHP President and CEO.
     AMBHA's Executive Director, Pamela Greenberg, added that "sharing of best
 practices in treating and preventing depression allows plans across the
 country to replicate the successes of other programs, improving care for
 thousands, maybe millions, of people."
     The report, featured in the latest edition of Healthplan magazine, is part
 of an AAHP series called "Advancing Women's Health."  The series has examined
 best practices in breast cancer treatment, osteoporosis/mid-life issues,
 domestic abuse, and prenatal care.
     Later this year, a consumer version of the report will be published
 featuring "10 Questions for Women to Ask Health Plans about Programs for
 Diagnosing and Treating Depression."  Questions are aimed at identifying to
 what extent a health plan incorporates key features of the model programs
 showcased in Approaches to Depression Care:
 
     Keystone Health Plan Central established a free, anonymous telephonic
 service that allows members to screen themselves for signs of depression.
 Available 24 hours a day, it also allows members to be transferred for further
 assessment and referral to a behavioral health practitioner.  One key to
 success is giving members immediate access to care in a time of need. In a
 two-year period, the plan noted a 20 percent increase in the number of people
 with a new episode of depression who remained on their antidepressant
 medication for at least six months.
 
     PacifiCare Behavioral Health, Inc. offers members telephonic depression
 screening and a program called "Taking Charge of Depression," in which members
 receive telephonic coaching designed to enhance treatment compliance.  The
 program is successful because members and providers alike find the program
 easy-to-use, engaging, and helpful.  Treatment compliance has risen with each
 of the interventions offered.
 
     Humana, Inc., (in cooperation with Magellan Behavioral Health) developed a
 program aimed at increasing the rate of detection and treatment of postpartum
 depression, which affects up to 15% of new mothers.  Magellan mails new
 mothers identified by Humana through its Humana Beginning Program packets that
 include a screening tool, a brochure about postpartum depression, and a toll-
 free number for immediate care.  Over 40 percent of new mothers who are
 identified as being at risk for depression participate in the program.
 
     The Group Health Cooperative in Seattle has developed Depression Roadmap
 based on scientific evidence identifying and focusing on the elements of
 depression care that have the greatest chance of getting patients better.
 These guidelines promote optimal care, and help the plan identify ways to make
 continual improvements in the system of care.  The Roadmap emphasizes teaching
 providers to make an accurate diagnosis and provide adequate follow-up using
 an electronic registry that alerts the provider if a patient is overdue for a
 visit or has stopped taking their antidepressant medication.
 
     Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield in New Hampshire has examined barriers to
 successful implementation of mental health services.  Anthem recently
 conducted a series of physician surveys, and then enlisted the support of
 physician leaders to identify ways to improve provider recognition of
 depression in their patients and to promote more appropriate use of
 antidepressant medications.
 
     Kaiser Permanente spearheaded a national alliance of researchers,
 clinicians, advocacy groups, and business leaders that has resulted in 18
 projects to develop and evaluate new models of care for depression.  A nurse
 telecare program used inside Kaiser Permanente and now elsewhere in the
 country, is one of them.  In a randomized trial, this nurse telecare approach,
 which emphasizes behavioral modification and care coordination, demonstrated
 significant reductions in symptoms and improvements in functioning and patient
 satisfaction when used in conjunction with appropriate medication.
 
     Approaches to Depression Care is available at http://www.aahp.org under
 Patient Care, News and Newsletters.
     Depression is not a gender-specific illness, but there are important
 differences between men and women. Nearly twice as many women are affected by
 depression each year and, over a lifetime, women are more than twice as likely
 as men to suffer a major depression.
 
     AAHP is the largest national trade organization representing HMOs, PPOs,
 and other similar health plans that provide coverage to more than 140 million
 Americans.
 
     AMBHA represents the nation's leading managed behavioral healthcare
 organizations.  These organizations provide insurance coverage for treatment
 of mental health and substance use disorders to over 110 million individuals.
 
 SOURCE  American Association of Health Plans; American Managed Behavioral