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.

Search Projects by Category

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

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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.

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.

Recovery to Practice

From 2014 to 2018, under a contract with SAMHSA, AHP led the Recovery to Practice (RTP) workforce initiative to expand and integrate recovery-oriented care delivered by behavioral health providers across systems and service settings. The purpose of the RTP project was to help SAMHSA promote and support person-centered, recovery-oriented principles and practices as integral to multidisciplinary treatment and services for people diagnosed with serious mental illnesses and/or substance use disorders.  

 

Primarily a workforce development project, RTP helped improve and supplement the skills and competence of practitioners across disciplines—including physicians and other medical personnel, therapists and social workers, and peer specialists and those who provide support services. Through RTP, SAMHSA built a comprehensive suite of online educational resources for understanding, providing, and improving recovery-oriented services. 

 

RTP addressed applications and recovery-oriented practices within multidisciplinary services and integrated settings. As part of the contract, the RTP team

 
  • Redeveloped and expanded SAMHSA’s RTP website
  • Created quarterly newsletters and other resources
  • Provided technical assistance and educational events to help promote and support recovery-oriented approaches in integrated and multidisciplinary settings
  • Created new training modules on interdisciplinary service approaches and homelessness
  • Developed decision support resources for clinicians 

AHP hosted a series of 48 multifaceted, multidisciplinary, far-reaching education programs consisting of continuing education unit (CEU)–approved webinars and a resource-rich companion newsletter on a variety of recovery-oriented topics, including homelessness and housing instability, engagement, recovery-oriented approaches to medication, and recovery-oriented cognitive therapy (CT-R). Participants gave these webinars an overall effectiveness rating of 98 percent. 

 

In addition to webinars, AHP created two SAMHSA-approved multi-module virtual learning courses: Integrated Practice in Primary and Behavioral Health, and Information for Peer Specialists Working with People Experiencing Homelessness.  

 

AHP also completed a robust set of CEU-carrying clinical decision support materials for physicians and other practitioners. The virtual courses blended evidence-based medicine with a recovery orientation and focused on recovery-oriented prescribing practices, co-occurring disorders, and clozapine. Mindful of the needs of this professional audience, AHP developed six podcasts that focused on complex clinical considerations around psychotropic medication, including recovery-oriented approaches to prescribing, choosing the right medication at the right time, prescribing multiple medications, treating pregnant women, the intersection of serious mental illness and chronic pain, and prescribing long-acting injectable medications. 


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)

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) contracted with AHP to manage this national technical assistance (TA) and training center, which provided services to CSAP and CSAT grantees funded through the Minority AIDS Initiative (MAI).
 
Through onsite and innovative virtual TA, BH-HIVTAC provided high-quality services, fostered an understanding of the people the program served, and supported development of integrated services that were culturally and linguistically appropriate for these priority populations and their communities. The goal of this TA and training was to 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.
 
BH-HIVTAC reached more than 1,500 participants through its virtual conferences for grantees. The highly interactive sessions focused on topics ranging from using social media to recruiting youth and young adults at risk of HIV into substance use prevention and treatment services and integrating peer recovery services into workforce development in behavioral health programs.
 
In addition, BH-HIVTAC held collaborative webinars and intensive onsite training and TA. It hosted small virtual learning networks designed to strengthen and support grantee effectiveness and facilitated development of regional grantee networks to promote grantee-to-grantee connections to build local grantee capacity.
 

BHbusiness Plus

BHbusiness Plus was funded through SAMHSA. Utilizing a coached learning network model that lasted 3 to 6 months per network, AHP conducted more than 50 learning networks, each involving hundreds of participants, around the following topics:

  • Value-based Purchasing
  • Bundled Payments
  • Data-Driven Decision Making
  • New Business Planning
  • Costing Out Your Services
  • Setting up a Third-Party Billing System
  • Improving Your Third-Party Billing System
  • Third-Party Contract Negotiations
  • Eligibility and Enrollment
  • Strategic Business Decision Making
  • Planning for the Next Generation of HIT
  • Exploring Affiliations, Mergers, and Acquisitions

The goal was to help behavioral health providers identify and implement customized change projects that expanded their service capacity, harnessed new payer sources, and ultimately made them able to thrive in the changing health care environment. The program empowered participating organizations to actually make quantifiable changes, rather than just learn how to do so. It linked participants into specific learning networks that focused on a specific topic of interest and provided opportunities for networking and peer support.

Everyone within individual learning networks received hands-on expertise and guidance to initiate, continue, and complete business operations changes.

Currently, BHBusiness offers virtual technical assistance through self-paced online courses, coupled with a robust library of web resources on these same topics, at no cost to participants.

 



 
 

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 an opioid use disorder (OUD) gain wider access to community services. ATR is making a difference: Overall, participants have seen a fourfold increase in employment 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 choose the recovery support services they think will help them most. Options include care coordination, basic critical needs support (e.g., 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 sustained 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, more importantly, saves lives. During one grant year alone, $4 million went back into the local economy by paying providers for the services offered to participants and by paying participants a work-study benefit when they attended job-training programs.
 
The key to ATR’s success is its focus on employment through job-readiness training, job search assistance, and occupational training. 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 percent 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.
 

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