Projects & Impact

AHP has built its business on applying best practices, many of which we have helped to shape, and real-world, hands-on knowledge to improving systems and business practices for our clients.

In all of the work that we do, we are guided by our mission to improve health and human services systems of care and business operations to help organizations and individuals reach their full potential.

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Select items in one or more of four categories to find relevant project types:

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Access to Recovery (ATR) [Commonwealth of Massachusetts, DPH/BSAS]

ATR is an innovative program that helps people in Massachusetts who are in early recovery from opioid use disorder (OUD) gain wider access to community services. ATR is making a difference, shown by a four-fold increase in employment among participants after they complete the program compared to when they enrolled. ATR graduates are better able to sustain recovery, find jobs, and maintain stable housing. 
 

ATR participants are also far less likely to fatally overdose while enrolled in the program, with rates at less than 1%.   

 

AHP has been running this federal grant from SAMHSA since 2010. Clients choose recovery support services that they think will help them most in their recovery.  
 

Examples of services include care coordination, basic critical needs support (clothing, IDs), public transportation passes, health and mental health supports, and employment training. ATR gives participants the dignity of self-sufficiency and the hope for a future in recovery.  

 

This project is being implemented in four Massachusetts cities: Springfield, Boston, Worcester, and New Bedford.  

  

For the relatively low cost of an average of $1,865 per participant for the 6-month program, ATR saves the Commonwealth money and saves lives. During one grant year alone, $4 million went back into the local economy by paying providers for the services provided to participants and by paying participants a work-study benefit when they attended job-training programs. 

 

The focus on employment through job readiness training, job search assistance, and occupational training is key to the program’s success. Job training is provided to participants with a recognition that they have complex needs and benefit from customized approaches to employment training. The ATR employment program, the Career Building Initiative (CBI), is a national model for successful job readiness and occupational training for people in early recovery from substance use disorders. 
 

About 90% of ATR participants have some criminal justice system involvement and often face barriers to securing employment. To accommodate this population, CBI includes training in jobs that employ people with a criminal justice background, including culinary/food services, commercial cleaning, construction, hotel/hospitality, truck driving, and office work. 

 

ATR coordinators are continuously trained on recovery planning, motivational interviewing, and engagement techniques, resulting in successful engagement with the participants throughout their time in the program. 

BHbusiness Plus

BHbusiness Plus is funded through a contract with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). It offers customized, virtual technical assistance and training to behavioral health executives at no cost to participants. The goal is to help behavioral health providers identify and implement customized change projects that expand their service capacity, harness new payer sources, and thrive in the changing health care environment. The program empowers participating organizations to actually make quantifiable changes, rather than just learning how to do so. It links participants into specific learning networks that focus on a specific topic of interest and provides opportunities for networking and peer support. Everyone in a learning network receives hands-on expertise and guidance to initiate, continue, and complete business operations changes.
 
Participants benefit from the following supports:
 
  • focused technical assistance that meets each organization’s business needs;
  • guidance from a dedicated coach that helps participants develop a customized change project;
  • access to a peer group of like-minded providers that empowers organizations to learn from combined experiences to grow their businesses;
  • consultation from leading subject matter experts in the field; and
  • resources designed to be meaningful to learners, providing practical action steps to meet individual challenges.
 
Related resources and publications:
 

Building a Behavioral Health Network with Rural Providers

Facing evolving state and federal requirements for clinical integration, this group of rural behavioral health providers sought AHP’s help to assess their capabilities and begin to build a provider network to better serve their region. Recognizing the competitive risk of more dominant health systems, these smaller providers have banded together and are collaborating with AHP to strengthen their administrative capacity and efficiency and deliver care more effectively. AHP is conducting a readiness assessment of each provider’s capabilities for forming a provider network model with an analysis of strengths and weaknesses, along with recommendations for the most suitable network model to pursue. In addition, AHP is developing a business planning process with a blueprint for implementation for the chosen model. Each organization will receive a feasibility study and business plan for establishing a shared services organization.

Colorado Office of Behavioral Health Needs Assessment

The Colorado Office of Behavioral Health (OBH) selected a team led by Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) Mental Health Program to conduct a needs analysis and scan of existing and promising behavioral health models. AHP worked with the WICHE team, which included NASMHPD Research Institute (NRI), to complete 17 tasks. AHP assessed:
 
  • Olmstead v. L.C. legal decision considerations in the provision of state psychiatric beds;
  • integration of behavioral health and physical health care;
  • impact of marijuana legalization and prescription drug misuse on CO OBH service needs;
  • impact of state drug sentencing reform on CO OBH service needs; and
  • state approaches to support employment and housing for mental health consumers.
 
The work on tasks included a literature review, environmental scan, key informant interviews, focus groups, and analysis of existing state-level data. A report was prepared for each task and combined into a comprehensive report that included recommendations for Colorado’s OBH. 
 
Related resources and publication:
 

Developing a Strategic Plan and Pro Forma to Help a Midwestern Provider Association Form a Behavioral Health Network

This provider association engaged AHP to help form a provider network from among its members. AHP developed a robust strategic business operational plan and pro forma by performing in-depth analyses of key business operations areas and developing an action plan. Building on that work, AHP then facilitated the implementation planning process for credentialing and billing. As a result, AHP delivered a comprehensive roadmap outlining the functional processes to institute and a set of recommendations and procedures to help launch the desired network.

Heartland Health Outreach Research Technical Assistance Project

AHP worked with Heartland Health Outreach (HHO), a community-based organization that provides medical, dental, behavioral health care and housing to vulnerable populations, to identify organizational research strengths and program evaluation needs. AHP conducted key stakeholder interviews with HHO administrators, reviewed HHO research implementation strategies, and recommended health care reform-related performance measurements. AHP also worked with HHO leadership to disseminate its research-related projects at a national level.
 
Related resources and publications:
 
  • Pickett, S.A. & Batia, K. (2015). Integrated Health Care for People with Psychiatric Disabilities: Introduction to the special issue. American Journal of Psychiatric Rehabilitation, 18(1), 1-4. Retrieved from www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15487768.2015.1001689.
  • Pickett, S.A., Luther, S., Stellon, E., & Batia, K. (2015). Making Integrated Care a Reality: Lessons Learned From Heartland Health Outreach's Integration Implementation. American Journal of Psychiatric Rehabilitation, 18(1), 87-104. Retrieved from www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15487768.2015.1001698

Improving Technological and Business Efficiencies for Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs)

Since 2005, AHP has helped nearly all Massachusetts FQHCs and others in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic to re-engineer key operational and clinical processes. AHP delivers value to the bottom line through evaluating and improving process mapping and workflow analysis, EHR implementation, identification of barriers and constraints, clinical and operational staff training, and system validation. AHP experts help FQHCs to integrate primary care and behavioral health, conduct strategic planning to meet the requirements of health care reform, and perform protected health information privacy and security assessments. Since 2011, AHP has assisted FQHCs in meeting the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Meaningful Use.

Integrated Health Care for African Americans with Mental Illness who are Homeless

AHP is collaborating with the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) to develop, implement and pilot-test an integrated behavioral health and primary care intervention for homeless African Americans with mental illness. Funded by the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities, in this project, peer navigators—African Americans with lived experience of homelessness and behavioral health problems—connect homeless African Americans with mental illness to medical and mental health care, helping them “navigate” these complicated health systems. AHP and IIT are conducting a randomized controlled clinical trial examining the effectiveness of peer navigators in improving health outcomes for this vulnerable population.
 
Related resources and publications:
 
  • Corrigan, P.W., Pickett, S., Kraus, D., Burks, R., & Schmidt, A. (2015). Community-based participatory research examining the health care needs of African Americans who are homeless with mental illness. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 26(1), 119-133. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25702732.
  • Corrigan, P.W., Pickett, S.A., Batia, K., & Michaels, P.J. (2014). Peer navigators and integrated care to address ethnic health disparities. Social Work in Public Health, 29, 581-593. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25144699

Positioning an Accountable Care Organization to Expand Behavioral Health Services

Inspira Health Network, an accountable care organization (ACO) with three medical centers and more than 100 access points, sought AHP’s help to make rapid, well-informed decisions about the best allocation of its behavioral health resources and facilities to best serve the surrounding community and deliver value to the bottom line. The goal was to research and deliver a position paper for presentation to legislative, business, and community stakeholders that would encourage support for the ACO’s proposed facility and product expansion. In a very tight timeframe, AHP conducted an assessment of the existing and future business environment, researched and defined the product line and proposed expansion, and developed a paper positioning Inspira Health Network and the benefits proposed for the community.

Recovery to Practice

AHP has contracted with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) on the Recovery to Practice (RTP) workforce initiative to expand and integrate recovery-oriented care delivered by behavioral health providers across systems and service settings by fostering a better understanding of recovery, recovery-oriented practices, and the roles of the various behavioral health professions in promoting recovery.
 
The RTP initiative aims to address applications and recovery-oriented practices within multidisciplinary services and integrated settings. The contract tasks include redeveloping and expanding the RTP website, creating quarterly newsletters and other resources; providing technical assistance and educational events to help promote and support recovery-oriented approaches in integrated and multidisciplinary settings; creating new training modules on interdisciplinary service approaches and homelessness; and developing decision support resources for clinicians.
 
In this project, AHP leads a team that includes the Center for Social Innovation and the Foundation for Mental Hygiene, New York State Psychiatric Institute, Center for Practice Innovation at Columbia University.
 
Key accomplishments of this project include the development and delivery of 12 onsite and 12 virtual technical assistance programs and presentations for diverse audiences of practitioners, administrators, and consumers; the distribution of four magazine style newsletters with practical information on integrating recovery across a variety of topics and practices to a list of more than 6,000 subscribers; the development of a “virtual grand rounds” six-part clinical decision support webinar series that offers real-world training in recovery-oriented practice to clinicians and prescribers; and the creation of two comprehensive training manuals.
 
Related resources and publications:
 

Supporting Transition to Health Care Reform for a Large National Behavioral Health/Social Services Organization

AHP worked with this national association and its affiliate members around the country on a range of projects including re-engineering services and delivery systems in response to the requirements and opportunities under the Affordable Care Act. AHP has worked extensively with the national headquarters of the association to identify opportunities for affiliates, including identifying partnerships with health homes and accountable care organizations, exploring new business opportunities, and expanding publicly funded services into the private pay and third party/managed care markets.

Technical Assistance to the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) Office of the Director

Over several contracts, AHP has conducted studies, provided analysis and technical advice, written papers and Reports to Congress, and reviewed CMHS business operations. In addition, AHP writers are the principal speech and blog writers for the CMHS Office of the Director. Speeches and blogs communicate SAMHSA’s vision, mission, and priorities as they relate to the development of a person-centered, recovery-focused, evidence-based, and quality-driven system of behavioral health care. Speeches are prepared for national meetings and conventions, state and community organizations, national and international policymaking groups, and congressional committees. 
 
AHP’s accomplishments in support of the CMHS Office of the Director are both broad and deep. For example, AHP:
 
  • Wrote Reports to Congress on borderline personality disorder and certified community behavioral health clinics;
  • Provided insight into the evolving research and policy surrounding the social determinants of mental health;
  • Helped assess the evidence base for the effectiveness of selected behavioral health treatments;
  • Examined states’ priorities vis-a-vis health reform;
  • Reviewed crisis support programs for people with behavioral health conditions;
  • Examined employment of individuals with behavioral health disorders who have criminal justice involvement;
  • Conducted an examination of patient activation for behavioral health;
  • Developed CMHS program profiles;
  • Helped develop materials related to the prevention of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders;
  • Examined the relationship of maternal health and child behavioral health outcomes; and
  • Analyzed the extent to which the landmark Supreme Court decision in Olmstead v. L.C. is working for Americans with disabilities, including those with mental and substance use disorders.
     
Related resources and publications:
 

The Behavioral Health and HIV/AIDS Technical Assistance Center (BH-HIVTAC)

Through onsite and innovative virtual technical assistance (TA), BH-HIVTAC provided high-quality services to foster an understanding of the people it serves and support development of integrated services that are culturally and linguistically appropriate for these priority populations and their communities. The goal of this TA and training was to:
 
  • Increase integration of behavioral health prevention and treatment services, including HIV and viral hepatitis, and strengthen linkages to primary health care; and
  • Increase capacity for local behavioral health provider networks to develop and expand their substance use prevention and treatment services, particularly those integrating HIV and viral hepatitis prevention services and linkages to primary health care.
The BH-HIVTAC contract provided 178 site visits, 65 webinars, and engaged 47 subject matter experts (SMEs) for 450 grantees over a four-year period. Site visits took place in 24 states/territories.
 
Among the major accomplishments of this project, AHP implemented three 2-day virtual conferences for grantees: The 2018 CSAT grantee virtual conference had more than 350 attendees, plenary and key note sessions, three tracks (including an evaluation track), and a virtual poster session with presentations by 10 grantees; more than 600 people attended a joint 2016 CSAP/CSAT virtual conference, which had plenary and keynote sessions, three tracks; and a 2015 CSAP grantees conference, which had plenaries, concurrent sessions, and two grantee panels, with a total of 300 attendees.

In addition to highly interactive webinars and intensive onsite training and technical assistance, other activities in this initiative included small virtual learning networks designed to strengthen and support grantee effectiveness, as well as the development of regional grantee networks to promote grantee-to-grantee connections to build local grantee capacity.

AHP was contracted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) on this national technical assistance and training center, which provided services to Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) and Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) grantees funded through the Minority AIDS Initiative (MAI).

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