Cost-saving equals lifesaving

This piece is excerpted from Behavioral Health Magazine’s Deal Insider Blog. Read the full article here.

An ounce of prevention has always been worth a pound of cure, but now it also carries monetary value to those who provide it. A trend is emerging within the behavioral healthcare sector to grow its service capacity through better integration with clinical care, and it’s being encouraged by new reimbursement incentives.

As part of the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of the Mental Health Parity and Addictions Equity Act (MHPAEA), behavioral health screenings are now covered by insurers, and physician offices can receive payment for conducting Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) exams.

Catching problems before they start will not only provide new revenue streams for physician offices that co-locate, or refer to, behavioral health services, but will also save on health care costs for patients, at-risk providers, and insurers along the entire care continuum.

Virtual visits and virtual early intervention through SBIRT impact not only the consumer’s health by extending the potential reach of substance abuse and mental health providers, but also the finances of the individual’s employer and insurer since the risks of costly and unanticipated urgent care and emergency department visits are greatly reduced. Additionally, insurers view this aggregation of data as a way to proactively monitor patients’ health, which can help prevent the risk of costly hospital admissions and readmissions.