Integrating Primary Care & Behavioral Health at Lynn CHC: Kiame Mahaniah & Mark Alexakos

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Primary care models integrating behavioral health services are being adopted across the country. This week, we talked with two leaders at the Lynn Community Health Center (LCHC), Dr. Mark Alexakos and Dr. Kiame Mahaniah, about their experience with integration.

LCHC is unique among community health centers in that it started out as a mental health counseling center, and now has the largest community health center-based behavioral health program in Massachusetts. In this conversation, we talk about what it means to integrate behavioral health services with primary care clinical services – how it can reduce the fragmentation of services to better meet the needs of patients and the demand for mental health care (2:40), why it may better position clinics participating in accountable care (7:40), what successes they’ve seen (8:45), and the resources it has required (12:28). Along the way, our guests make it clear that the staff at LCHC love working in integrated teams. You can learn more about various other models of integrated behavioral health here.

Mark Alexakos MD, MPP, is the chief behavioral health officer of LCHC. He has a joint degree in medicine and public policy and developed an early interest in the interface between policy, research, and service delivery as they relate to access barriers, health disparities, and community health. Before working at LCHC, he spent seven years developing intensive, school-based mental health services that combined health promotion and prevention with quick access to behavioral health treatment in five Boston Public Schools.

Kiame Mahaniah, MD, is the chief executive officer of LCHC, though at the time of this interview, he served as the chief medical officer. His passion resolves around social and restorative justice, in the context of healthcare.   His twin clinical interests are teaching—he holds an appointment at the Tufts University School of Medicine—and integrating opioid addiction treatment into the primary care/behavioral health matrix.

This interview was edited lightly for length and clarity.

photo credit: Lynn Community Health Center

Lori Tishler of Commonwealth Care Alliance – Caring for the Most Vulnerable Patients

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Have you ever felt lonely and overwhelmed in a clinic room with a patient whose needs are far beyond your skills and ability to meet? I have, many times, and so has our guest this week, Dr. Lori Tishler. Dr. Tishler is the Vice President of Medical Affairs at Commonwealth Care Alliance, a not-for-profit organization that cares for more than 20,000 of the most vulnerable patients in Massachusetts, duals, or individuals who have both Medicare and Medicaid.

We talk about how CCA’s member-centered approach (as opposed to a physician-centered approach) has helped her feel more effective in caring for these vulnerable patients. We talk about the range of services that CCA offers, the role of their care partners, and the freedom that their financial model permits – for example, they provide 90% of care to patients in their homes.

You can find the Atlantic Magazine article we referenced featuring CCA here, and find a few Health Affairs blogs featuring CCA here, and a blog post focusing on building the business case for a community paramedicine program here.

A bit more about our guest: Lori Tishler is the Vice President of Medical Affairs at Commonwealth Care Alliance, a not-for-profit organization that cares for more than 20,000 of the most vulnerable patients in Massachusetts, people who have both Medicare and Medicaid.  She oversees CCA’s physicians and is involved with clinical aspects of quality, utilization, and pharmacy.  In addition, she is an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School and an active member of the General Medicine Faculty at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, As a caring and connected physician leader, mentor, and educator, Dr. Tishler’s passion has been providing care for the medically and socially vulnerable and making a difference in health systems for all.   Tishler has found that the most rewarding way to help change and grow our health care systems is to mentor learners who are interested in clinical care, leadership, and innovation.

Her leadership roles have extended outside of the clinic and outside of primary care.  She served on the Partners Healthcare Board of Directors, the Board of Directors for the Office for Women’s Careers, and the Board of the Schwartz Rounds while at the Brigham.  At Commonwealth Care Alliance, she teaches and presents nationally about our care model and innovations.

In addition to her leadership work, she continues to provide clinical care  Tishler feels that working as a clinician informs her choices and decisions as a leader.  Outside of work, Dr. Tishler loves to spend time with her husband and teenaged daughter, to travel, read, and knit.  She is honored to have been interviewed on Review of Systems.

If you enjoyed the show, please give us 5 stars wherever you listen. Tweet us your thoughts @rospodcast and check out our facebook page at www.facebook.com/reviewofsystems. Or, you can email us at audreyATrospod.org. We’d love to hear from you, and thanks for listening.

Understanding High Utilization of Unscheduled Care in Pregnant Women of Low Socioeconomic Status – Mehta et al

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This week, we are discussing an article from the Journal Women’s Health Issues, entitled: Understanding High Utilization of Unscheduled Care in Pregnant Women of Low Socioeconomic Status, by Pooja Mehta, Tamala Carter, Cjloe Vinoya, Shreya Kangovi, and Sindhu Srinivas. Pooja Mehta, the lead author of the study, joins us for our conversation. 

You can find the interview with Dr. David Buck referenced in our conversation here.

Dr. Mehta is Director of Maternal & Women’s Health Policy for the Consortium for Health Care Transformation, and Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Systems Management and Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, advising the Louisiana Department of Health and Medicaid Program.

Dr. Mehta’s interests are in the use of health care delivery innovation and community-engaged accountable care models to reduce reproductive health disparities, pregnancy-associated mortality, and low-value care, and to support patients with complex health and social needs. Her research has been supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics.

If you like the show, please rate and review us on itunes, google play, stitcher or your favorite podcasting app, which makes the show easier for others to find; and share us on social media. We tweet at @RoSpodcastand are on facebook at www.facebook.com/reviewofsystems.  Please drop us a line at audrey@rospod.org. We’d love to hear from you.

Listen at the end of the episode for a promo code to receive 15% off registration fees for an upcoming conference from the Harvard Center for Primary Care: Primary Care in 2020 – Future Challenges, Tips for Today.

This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Dave Chokshi – Population Health Management

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This week, we are joined by Dave Chokshi. Dave is the Chief Population Health Officer of OneCity Health and Senior Assistant Vice President at New York City Health + Hospitals—the largest public health care system in the U.S. He practices primary care at Bellevue Hospital and is a Clinical Associate Professor of Population Health and Medicine at the NYU School of Medicine.

We talk about what population health is, how it is distinct from public health, and what value it adds to our healthcare system. We also talk about how in some ways it might contribute to the erosion of relationships between primary care providers and patients, how that can be remedied, and how the small 1 or 2 doctor practice may fit into a population health management vision. We talk about a piece he wrote with Neil Calman and Diane Hauser about what they call the “expanded denominator,” and how that may further goals of public health and accountable care. Lastly, we talk about population health approaches in urban and rural settings, and how we should think about the opioid epidemic from a population health vantage point.

We reference a few articles throughout our conversation: Christine Sinsky’s already classic Annals paper detailing that physicians spend two hours on administrative tasks for every hour they see patients, and our journal club on that paper. Robin Williams’ and colleagues Health Affairs blog on utilizing the HIV cascade of care to battle the opioid epidemic, and Lawrence Casalino and colleagues work calculating what we spend measuring the care we provide. In addition, we reference the Surgeon General Vivek Murthy’s landmark report on addiction.

A quick note about a word we use frequently but didn’t pause to define for listeners – attribution. Attribution is the assignment of a specific patient to a specific primary care physician in a health system. Once a patient is attributed to a PCP or health system, that PCP and health system is held accountable for the patient’s quality measures and healthcare costs within ACOs or other alternative payment contracts. This still applies patients who do not frequently access the healthcare system through traditional channels or most frequently see specialists, who perhaps have never seen the assigned PCP, and is therefore at times controversial.

A little more background on Dr. Dave Chokshi: He was Assistant Vice President of Ambulatory Care Transformation at NYC Health + Hospitals and director of Population Health Improvement at NYU School of Medicine. In 2012-13, he served as a White House Fellow at the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs, where he was the principal health advisor in the Office of the Secretary. His prior work experience spans the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, including positions with the New York City and State Departments of Health, the Louisiana Department of Health, a startup clinical software company, and the nonprofit Universities Allied for Essential Medicines, where he was a founding member of the Board of Directors.

If you enjoy the show, please rate and review us wherever you listen, and share us on social media. Tweet us your thoughts @rospodcast and check out our facebook page at www.facebook.com/reviewofsystems. Or, you can email me at audreyATrospod.org. We’d love to hear from you, and thanks for listening.

Danielle Ofri – Communication Between Patients & Doctors

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This week, we are joined by Danielle Ofri. Danielle is a primary care physician at Bellevue Hospital and a prolific essayist and author. We start out talking about her most recent book, What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear. We talk about communication between patients and doctors and why it can be so challenging, and how physician communication can be evaluated and more effectively taught to trainees. Danielle talks about the power dynamics of the medical interview and how it can be uncomfortable for us as physicians to have the tables turned when the patient is more empowered in the conversation. We also talk about the campaign that Danielle has spearheaded to get physicians and other medical professionals involved in the health care reform efforts of the last few months in Washington DC with her House Calls Campaign.

Danielle is a physician at Bellevue Hospital and associate professor of medicine at NYU. She writes about medicine and the doctor-patient connection for the New York TimesSlate Magazine, and other publications. Danielle is co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Bellevue Literary Review, the first literary journal to arise from a medical setting. She is the author of a collection of books about the world of medicine. She’s given TED Talks on Deconstructing Perfection and  When Doctors Face Fear, and has performed at The Moth.

If you enjoy the show, please rate and review us wherever you listen, and share us on social media. Tweet us your thoughts @rospodcast and check out our facebook page at www.facebook.com/reviewofsystems. Or, you can email us at contact@rospod.org. We’d love to hear from you, and thanks for listening.

This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.

Joshua Freeman – Designing a Fair & Equitable Healthcare System

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Dr. Joshua Freeman is a family physician, health policy researcher, social justice activist, and writer.  He publishes a widely-read blog, “Medicine and Social Justice”, and in 2015 published a book, Health, Medicine and Justice: Designing a fair and equitable healthcare system (Copernicus Healthcare press), which is available on Amazon and other sites, in both softcover and electronic versions.

This week, Thomas Kim chats with Dr. Freeman about some of the major themes of the book: why the US health care system fails to produce a healthy population, the role of profit in American medicine, why he uses social justice to frame his analyses and commentary, and how the American health care system could become more primary care-centered.

Dr. Freeman is Professor Emeritus at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, where he served as the Alice M. Patterson MD and Harold L. Patterson MD Professor and Chair of the Department of Family Medicine from 2002-2016, and was also Professor in the Departments of Preventive Medicine and Public Health and of Health Policy and Management. He was a Fulbright Scholar in São Paulo, Brazil in 2003 and served nationally as Treasurer of the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine and the Association of Departments of Family Medicine. He received STFM’s highest honor, the Recognition Award, in 2006. He served as a member of the board of trustees of Roosevelt University in Chicago, as assistant editor of the journal Family Medicine, and also on the board of Southwest Boulevard Family Health Center in Kansas City, KS.

Dr. Freeman is a graduate of the Loyola-Stritch School of Medicine, family medicine residency at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, and faculty development fellowship and Preventive Medicine residency at the University of Arizona.

This interview was lightly edited for clarity.

Journal Club – Exploring the Patient and Staff Experience with the Process of Primary Care

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This week, we bring you a journal club on the manuscript: Exploring the Patient and Staff Experience with the Process of Primary Care, which was published in Annals of Family Medicine in the July/August 2015 issue by Elizabeth J Brown, Shreya Kangovi, Christopher Sha, Sarah Johnson, Casey Chanton, Tamala Carter, and David Grande.

If you like the show, please rate and review us on itunes, google play, stitcher or your favorite podcasting app, which makes the show easier for others to find; and share us on social media. We tweet at @RoSpodcast and are on facebook at www.facebook.com/reviewofsystems.  Please drop us a line at contact@rospod.org. We’d love to hear from you.

Gail D’Onofrio, Initiation of Suboxone Treatment for Opiate Use Disorder in the ED

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This week we are again looking at the opioid crisis, but this time from the perspective of an emergency room physician. Gail D’Onofrio, MD, MS is Physician-in Chief of Emergency Services at Yale-New Haven Hospital; she and her colleagues published a randomized controlled trial in JAMA in April 2015 looking at an intervention initiating suboxone treatment for patients with substance use disorders in the ED.  Gail is Professor and Chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Yale University and is internationally known for her work in substance use disorders, women’s cardiovascular health, and mentoring physician scientists in research careers, and she is a founding board member of the American Board of Addiction Medicine.

We talk about her perspective on the opioid epidemic as an ED physician; her RCT; how people could set up a similar program in their local ED and community; and her thoughts on ED utilization for primary care complaints, which is the subject of a recently issued report from the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission.

Please rate and review us on iTunes or Stitcher and share us on social media. Tweet us your thoughts @RoSpodcast and check out our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/reviewofsystems. Or, you can email us at contact@rospod.org. We’d love to hear from you.

Bon Ku – Design Thinking in Healthcare

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This week we are joined by Bon Ku, the Assistant Dean for Health and Design and an Associate Professor at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, to talk about design thinking and medicine. Bon is a practicing emergency medicine physician and the founder and director of JeffDESIGN, a first-of-its-kind program in a medical school that teaches future physicians to apply human-centered design to healthcare challenges. Bon has spoken widely on the intersection of health and design thinking (TEDx, South by Southwest, Mayo Clinic Transform, Stanford Medicine X, Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture) and serves on the Design and Health Leadership Group at the American Institute of Architects. Bon talks with us about what design thinking is, how he got into it, why he thinks physicians would benefit from learning to think in this way, and how to apply it to common primary care challenges, like walk-ins. He also directs listeners to the following resources to learn more about design thinking in medicine: the Stanford Dschool, and ideou.

If you like the show, please rate and review us on itunes or stitcher, which makes the show easier for others to find; and share us on social media. We tweet at @rospodcast and are on facebook at www.facebook.com/reviewofsystems.  Please drop us a line at contact@rospod.org. We’d love to hear from you.

Journal Club – Los Angeles Safety Net Program eConsult System Was Rapidly Adopted and Decreased Wait Times to See Specialists

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For this week’s journal club, we are talking about a recent paper from Health Affairs entitled: Los Angeles Safety Net Program eConsult System Was Rapidly Adopted and Decreased Wait Times to See Specialists  by Michael Barnett, Hal F. Yee Jr, Ateev Mehotra, and Paul Giboney. The paper describes and analyzes data from an e-consult system that was rolled out to a network of hundreds of safety-net clinics in Los Angeles County. We are thrilled to have the lead author, Michael Barnett, join us for our discussion! Michael is an Assistant Professor at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and a primary care physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He publishes prolifically on a variety of topics, and is particularly interested in the primary care-specialty care interface.

Do you use e-consults in your practice? Or do you wish you had access to such a system? Please tweet us your thoughts @RoSpodcast, or drop us a line at contact@rospod.org. And, let us know what manuscripts you think we should look at in future journal clubs or who we should have on to talk about their work. We look forward to hearing from you, and thanks for listening.