(Durham, NC) – Alliance Behavioral Healthcare’s School-Based Care Coordination initiative received a “Program of Excellence” award for partnerships to improve services recently from the NC Council of Community Programs.
Alliance is the managed care organization for publicly funded behavioral healthcare services for the people of Durham, Wake, Cumberland and Johnston counties. Alliance works with a network of almost 2,200 private providers to serve the needs of 471,000 Medicaid-eligible and uninsured individuals within a total population of 1.8 million.
The SPCC initiative is an innovative partnership between Alliance and the Wake County Public School System to create safer learning environments and better educational outcomes by addressing the mental health, behavioral and social needs of children attending Wake County schools.
Alliance’s Care Coordinators in the schools use a “wraparound” model to improve student connections with the services they need to reduce the severity of their behavioral health symptoms. In turn, student absences are reduced and academic performance improves. The initiative aims to bridge the gap between families, schools and behavioral health resources and give children and their families a voice in navigating the behavioral and educational systems.
The initiative currently provides care coordination in several areas. One effort promotes continuity of care for children transitioning back into schools from psychiatric residential treatment facilities. Others identify and support children with intellectual and developmental disabilities, identify young children entering school who may need intervention and arrange services for students who need help for existing problems and prevention of more severe problems.
One program unique in North Carolina tailors “diversion plans” for teens accused of minor crimes. The SBCC teen diversion program has helped 93 teens accused of committing minor offenses at school avoid criminal charges or arrest records, which has allowed some keep their college scholarship offers or retain their eligibility to join the military.
During the 2016-17 fiscal year the SBCC initiative served a total of 414 children across all programs.
“It is critical that parents, school staff and community care providers come together to support all of the students in our care, but especially those students that must have collaborative support to navigate troubling life circumstances,” said Karen Hamilton, Wake County Public School System’s assistant superintendent for special education services. “The WCPSS/Wake County Government and Alliance collaborative allows our community to provide aligned, coherent efforts that strengthen families and the school families of students facing unique struggles. I look forward to the future where we increase the scope and size of our collaboration and reach even more children and families!” Ms. Hamilton said.
“The School-Based Care Coordination initiative is just one example of Alliance’s efforts to reach into our communities to the places where we can be proactive in identifying people who are at risk of the negative impact of behavioral health challenges,” said Dr. Beth Melcher, executive vice president of Alliance’s Care Management Division. “That allows us to intervene with treatment and support to help ensure they can avoid serious consequences and continue living satisfying lives.”
The North Carolina Council of Community MH/DD/SA Programs is the statewide association representing Local Management Entities-Managed Care Organizations (LME/MCOs) in North Carolina. Its “Programs of Excellence” awards recognize the innovation and quality of care that exemplify the public mental health, intellectual/developmental disabilities and substance abuse services in North Carolina.