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

How do we improve the value of care delivered in primary care? with John Mafi

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All of us like to think that we provide high-value care for our patients; but the truth is, just like the rest of the health care system, primary care provides a lot of low value care too – and we drive a lot of overuse. John Mafi joins us this week to talk about his leading research into these thorny, complex issues.

We talk about the definitions of high-value and low value care, his 2016 study in Annals of Internal Medicine examining rates of high and low value care among physicians, NPs, and PAs in the primary care setting, how practice setting may affect the delivery of high and low value care, and the essential truth that there is no free lunch in trying to solve some of the challenges in fixing primary care in the US. You can find Shah et al, which John referenced here; a recent study relevant to our conversation by Hong et al looking at clinician characteristics and frequent ordering of low-value imaging studies; and an extremely important new paper that John published recently in Health Affairs looking at the the impact of low-cost, high-volume studies on unnecessary health spending.

A little bit more about our guest:  John N. Mafi, MD, MPH is an assistant professor of medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA where he also practices and teaches. He also serves as an Affiliated Natural Scientist in Health Policy at RAND Corporation. Dr. Mafi trained in internal medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in 2012, where he also served as Chief Medical Resident and completed the Harvard Medical School Fellowship in General Internal Medicine and Primary Care in 2015. Dr. Mafi’s research focuses on quality and value measurement and how electronic health records can improve the value of care.

If you enjoy the show, please give us 5 stars wherever you listen. Tweet us your thoughts @RoSpodcast and leave us a message on our facebook page at www.facebook.com/reviewofsystems. Or, you can email me at audrey@rospod.org. We’d love to hear from you, and thanks for listening.

 This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

How does architectural design impact c-section rates? Mass Design & Ariadne Labs

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This episode starts with a question: “what if the architectural design of an obstetric unit influenced the c-section rate in that unit?”

That question occurred to obstetrician/gynecologist Neel Shah when he attended a presentation by Michael Murphy, the co-founder and executive director of Mass Design, an architectural design and research firm that focuses particularly on healthcare architecture. Neel thinks about c-section rates all the time and is a leading researcher in the field of maternal health. C-section rates vary widely throughout the US – from 7 to 70%, and where a woman delivers better predicts whether she will get a c-section than her own personal risk factors. So, Michael Murphy’s contention that “Architecture is never neutral. It either heals or hurts” stayed with Neel and inspired him to pursue a research initiative between Mass Design and his research group, Ariadne Labs.

Neel Shah and two of his collaborators, Amie Shao and Deb Rosenberg, researchers and architects with Mass Design, join us to talk about their collaboration and the report they produced.

Amie Shao is a director with MASS Design Group, where she oversees research focusing on health infrastructure planning and evaluation. In addition to guiding impact research for MASS built projects, she coordinated the production of National Health Infrastructure Standards for the Liberian Ministry of Health and has been involved in the design and evaluation of healthcare facilities in Haiti, Africa, and the United States. Deb Rosenberg joined MASS in 2015, with a unique background in healthcare and architecture. Throughout her career in nursing and architecture is a common ambition to promote health and well-being, and she believes that the spaces where people live, work and heal have the capacity to greatly support or restrict our human potential. Neel Shah, MD, MPP, is Assistant Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology at Harvard Medical School, and director of the Delivery Decisions Initiative at Ariadne Labs. His team is currently collaborating with hospitals across the United States, and using methods from design, systems engineering, and management to reduce the epidemic of avoidable c-sections.

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.

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.

Journal Club – Do On-Site Mental Health Professionals Change Pediatricians’ Responses to Children’s Mental Health Problems?

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On our journal club this week, we talk about an article published in September 2016 in the journal Academic Pediatrics: Do On-Site Mental Health Professionals Change Pediatricians’ Responses to Children’s Mental Health Problems? By Sarah McCue Horwitz and colleagues.

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.

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.

Reprise – Natalie Spicyn, Unionizing Clinicians

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This week we are joined by Natalie Spicyn, an internist and pediatrician at Chase Brexton, a Federally Qualified Community Health Center in Baltimore. Like all FQHCs, Medicaid patients are a large portion of the Chase Brexton payor mix, but the clinic also provides specialized care for a large and active LGBT and HIV positive community in the city.  Last year, caregivers and administrators faced conflict regarding proposed workflow, volume, and compensation restructuring. Several employees were terminated during early efforts at unionization; ultimately, clinicians voted to unionize and attempt collective bargaining.  Natalie published an op-ed in the Baltimore Sun during this tumultuous period, and joins us to talk about her experiences with unionizing, fair compensation practices in primary care, and how all of this affects patient care.

Photo: Rally outside Chase Brexton Health Care in Baltimore, Maryland, on Aug. 19, 2016. Photo: Jay Mallin, jay@jaymallinphotos.com, Courtesy of 1199 SEIU

Andrew Morris-Singer: Organizing & Advocacy

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We are joined this week by Andrew Morris-Singer, a general internist and founder of Primary Care Progress. Primary Care Progress is a national non-profit organization dedicated to building a stronger primary care system. Working with current and future healthcare professionals from across disciplines and career stages – from students and faculty to providers and health systems leaders – PCP offers leadership development and support that emphasizes relational skills, individual resiliency, and advocacy. Andrew has a unique background as a community organizer with more than 15 years of experience. He is a lecturer in Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, an Assistant Professor in the Dept of Family Medicine at OHSU and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at the University of Utah. He currently sees patients in Portland, Oregon. On the show, we talk about relational leadership,  advocacy and activism in primary care.

Photo: Andrew Morris-Singer MD