Excellence In Community Service Award 2023 Award Winner – MMHPI – Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute
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Excellence In Community Service Award 2023 Award Winner

This article was published by the Texas Hospital Association on February 15, 2024. 

Children’s Health was awarded THA’s Excellence in Community Service Award for their Behavioral Health Integration and Guidance (BHIG) Initiative, a proactive program launched by Children’s Health and the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute to address children’s mental health needs at the point of primary care.

In Texas, one in three children experiences a mental health condition each year – a number that continues to rise. In addition to the increasing number of children with mental health challenges, there are not enough mental health professionals to meet their needs. In Texas, there is currently a 10,000-to-1 ratio of children and adolescents to pediatric psychiatrists; yet nearly 80% of pediatric mental health conditions are mild-to-moderate and can be effectively managed in primary care settings when physicians have the proper tools and support.

Seeing the outstanding, unmet need for enhanced communication and coordination for pediatric patients’ mental health care, Children’s Health partnered with the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute to create the BHIG Initiative. Backed by more than $28 million in fundraising from local donors, the BHIG initiative trains pediatric primary care providers – who often have rapport and trust with patients and their families – to identify and treat pediatric patients with mild-to-moderate mental health conditions before an adverse event occurs.

The BHIG initiative consisted of three components:

  • Training physicians to identify mental health needs and provide early therapies for conditions mild-to-moderate conditions such as anxiety and depression.
  • Evaluating data outcomes to inform implementation efforts and to ensure consistency and quality within pediatricians’ practices.
  • Promoting sustainability and scalability by changing how stakeholders, insurance carriers and the legislature address the mental health needs of children.

The BHIG program’s core training components are offered online and in-person at a Children’s Health primary care clinic, the first in the nation to serve both as a learning laboratory and best-in-class provider of pediatric integrated care. Feedback collected from providers who participated in early cohorts of the program strongly confirmed the urgent need for and utility of the training provided.

Beyond the fundamental instruction, the program offers customized support and technical assistance tailored to each provider’s unique requirements. This approach has led to a notable surge in the delivery of evidence-based integrated care, as shown in the data. Remarkably, initial findings indicate that providers maintain their commitment to integrated care even after the training concludes, and they are adeptly integrating billing practices to ensure the long-term viability of this vital care model.

In its inaugural year of 2022, the BHIG initiative provided essential training and resources to more than 75 area providers, expanding access to mental health services for 150,000 families. Due to the strong reception by primary care providers to the program in its first year, the initiative has expanded to engage more providers in 2023.

Please join us in congratulating Children’s Health for being named the 2023 Excellence in Community Service award winner.

Read the full article on the Texas Hospital Association’s website.