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Mayo Clinic Public Affairs
The Minnesota Department of Human Services has entered into a two-year contract with the Mayo Clinic to provide expert guidance to pediatricians and other primary care providers who prescribe psychotropic medications for children. The new service is referred to as “collaborative psychiatric consultation” and is based on pilot projects that have been shown to improve quality of care and save money.
A two-year state and federal investment of $1.7 million in the program is expected to be fully offset by reduced costs for inpatient hospitalizations and medications in the state’s Medical Assistance (MA) program. While all Minnesota physicians will be encouraged to use the service on a voluntary basis, its use will be required for Medical Assistance fee-for-service payment for certain psychotropic medications.
“We are pleased to join with the Mayo Clinic to provide better mental health care to all Minnesota children, especially children served by the Medical Assistance program,” said Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson. “This new psychiatric consultation service holds the promise of improved access and quality of care as well as greater efficiency so resources can be focused on appropriate treatment.”
Mayo Clinic will partner with other health systems to ensure statewide availability of the new service.
“For the first time in the state’s history, this new program will enable child psychiatrists and social workers across leading health care systems to function as an integrated team,” said Peter Jensen, M.D., a professor of psychiatry at Mayo Clinic. “We’re truly working together to help Minnesota’s primary care physicians deliver quality healthcare to their children with mental health needs.”
The new service will also expand the capacity and strengthen the system of oversight and monitoring of psychotropic medication use among children in foster care. Children in foster care are up to five times more likely to be on a psychotropic medication than other children on Medical Assistance, which is a concern in Minnesota and nationally.
Beginning this August, the Mayo Clinic and its partners will operate a call center Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. A licensed social worker will answer calls and determine the most appropriate response. When possible, callers will be connected with existing services in the caller’s home community. If necessary, calls will be routed to on-call psychiatrists who have qualifications specific to the request.
While developing this service, DHS gathered advice from pediatricians, family practice physicians, nurses, mental health professionals, families, advocates, school staff and many others who care for children and youth with mental health needs. The contract with the Mayo Clinic incorporates many of the suggestions that DHS received from this broad range of stakeholders.
The goals of this new service are to:
Improve the quality of mental health treatment by encouraging the use of evidence-based treatments in addition to or in place of medication where appropriate.
Improve access and quality of care by making more efficient use of both primary care and specialty mental health services.
Improve collaboration between primary care and behavioral health services.
The contract is the result of a competitive bidding process. The state will evaluate the contract’s costs and outcomes to help determine whether it should be continued after the initial two years.
More information about this service is available on the DHS website www.dhs.state.mn.us/psychconsult.