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 to Prevent Burnout with Diane Shannon & Paul DeChant

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This week, in the second of our series about physician burnout, our guests focus on solutions. Diane Shannon and Paul DeChant, both physicians, join us to talk about their recent book Preventing Physician Burnout, Curing the Chaos and Returning Joy to the Practice of Medicine.

Diane and Paul talk about their experiences with burnout and how they came to work on this project together, how they contend that organizational and structural factors are more important than individual factors in driving burnout, how compensation and intangible rewards can reduce burnout, how leadership in healthcare can address the epidemic of burnout. We also talk about how they have come to believe that the LEAN principles, most especially the pillar of respect for people, is key in transforming healthcare organizations into places where primary care physicians can thrive, why change is so difficult, and some other resources that can help.

Diane Shannon is a general internist who left clinical medicine due to burnout and turned to a career in medical writing and public health. Paul DeChant is a family physician and experienced healthcare executive who has previously worked in organizations such as The Paulo Alto Medical Foundation, Sutter Gould Medical Foundation, and is now a senior advisor with Simpler Healthcare.

If you’ve missed it, have a listen to the first in our burnout series with Colin West, researcher at Mayo Clinic who has done foundational research on burnout and physician well-being. Please rate and review us on itunes, google play, 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, and thanks for listening.

Colin West – The Evidence Behind Burnout

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This week, we are joined by Colin West, professor of Medicine, Biostatistics and Medical Education at Mayo Clinic. Colin’s research focuses primarily on physician well-being, evidence based medicine and medical education. We talk today about his extensive research in the area of physician well-being and burnout.

We talk about what researchers mean precisely by burnout and how it is measured, what the implications are for patient care and quality of care that the primary care workforce is increasingly burdened with burnout, and his findings in an important 2016 study that physicians with significant burnout scores cut back on patient care over time. We also talk about the EMR, and what specific features of EMR most correlate with user dissatisfaction. Lastly, we talk about what questions he most wants to answer in his field. This is part 1 of a 2-part series on burnout. Today we focus on the evidence behind burnout, and in part 2 we will talk about what can be done to alleviate the problem.

If you like the show, please rate and review us on itunes, google play, 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, and thanks for listening.

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.

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.

Reprise – David Buck, Caring for High-Need, High-Cost Patients

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This week, Thomas Kim hosts the show and interviews Dr. David Buck, a family physician and professor of family and community medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine.  He is the founder and president of Patient Care Intervention Center (PCIC), an organization that uses advanced population health methods to target super-utilization of the health care system and intervenes through intensive care coordination and case management. It’s based in Houston, Texas and recently opened a branch in Dallas, and they were recently featured on PBS NewsHour. Prior to Dr. Buck’s work at PCIC, he founded Healthcare for the Homeless – Houston (HHH), now a federally qualified health center for over 7,000 homeless in Harris County, as well as the associated Houston Outreach Medicine Education and Social Services (HOMES) clinic, a student-managed clinic at HHH in conjunction with BCM and the University of Texas Health Science Center. He is a co-founder of the Houston-based physician advocacy group Doctors for Change, and founded the Houston-Galveston Albert Schweitzer Fellowship. He helped found the international street medicine institute, and was appointed to the 15-member Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan Program advisory board created as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2012.

You can find some CDC resources about Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs here, and a New Yorker article about the effects of ACEs on health here.
Dr. Buck is a graduate of the Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Texas School of Public Health, as well as family medicine residency at the University of Rochester.

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

Less AND More Are Needed to Assess Primary Care – Rebecca S. Etz et al

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On this week’s journal club, David Rosenthal, Audrey Provenzano, and Thomas Kim discuss Less AND More are Needed to Assess Primary Care, which was recently published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine by Rebecca Etz, PhD, Martha M. Gonzalez, BS, E. Marshall Brooks, PhD, and Kurt C. Stange, MD PhD.

The study utilized surveys to assess the lacuna between current quality measures and attributes of high quality primary care, and make the case that as policymakers and payers work to reduce the administrative burden of quality measurement more attention should be paid to measuring domains of high quality primary care.

What do you think? How do you know good primary care when you see it? How should the quality of primary care be assessed?

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 journal clubs and who we should have on to talk about their work. We look forward to hearing from you, and thanks for listening!

Andrew Schutzbank – Iora Health

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This week we are joined by Andrew Schutzbank, the Vice President of Product and Technology at Iora Health. His passion for revolutionizing health care began as a medical student at Tulane in pre- and post-Katrina New Orleans and continued during his Internal Medicine & Primary Care residency at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. He writes at schutzblog.com and joins us today to talk his work at Iora Health.

We discuss how the idea of completely starting over brought him to Iora Health after his residency, how Iora Health’s model works and how they navigate risk, the central role of Health Coaches in the care team, what challenges Iora is still grappling with, about Iora Health’s novel EHR, Chirp, and finish up with his reflections on how software development and patient care are similar.

Please rate and review us on itunes or stitcher, 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.