AQAF to work on improving behavioral health conditions

AQAF, a member of the five-state atom Alliance, a Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organization (QIN-QIO), will be working on a four-year contract to improve the identification of behavioral health conditions among Medicare beneficiaries in primary care and care transitions settings.

Under the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) contract, QIN-QIOs work directly with health care providers in collaboration with inpatient psychiatric facilities to implement evidence-based practices and systems changes that increase the identification of seniors with depression or alcohol use disorder in primary care settings.

QIN-QIOs will also work to reduce 30-day readmission rates and increase outpatient follow-ups for psychiatric discharges.

Depression and alcohol use disorder are common behavioral health conditions in the Medicare population. However, they are frequently under-identified in primary care settings. Challenges in effective care transitions for these and other behavioral health conditions contribute to high readmission rates and problems in treatment adherence.

CMS’ goal is that by 2019. 10,000 primary practices will screen a majority of its Medicare beneficiaries for depression and alcohol abuse with a validated screening instrument, reaching a total of 1.5 million beneficiaries.

Additionally, CMS plans to reduce psychiatric readmission rates in inpatient settings and increase patient follow-up rates with behavioral health practitioners following discharge.