Behavioral Health Home Certification Awarded to CarePlus

Care Plus NJ, Inc. (CarePlus) received word from the State of New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) that they are now a provisionally Certified Behavioral Health Home—the first of its kind in the State of New Jersey.

The Behavioral Health Home is a new service – not an actual “place” – added to the existing health care continuum, targeted to high utilizers and those who are at risk of becoming high utilizers. It provides a “centralized” coordinated care plan for individuals who suffer from chronic, co-occurring disorders, including mental illness and substance abuse issues. Services must include prevention and health promotion, healthcare, mental health and substance use, and long-term care services, as well as linkages to community supports and resources. Individuals will also be involved in continuing care strategies, including care management, care coordination, and transitional care from the hospital to the community.

The Department of Human Services’ Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), working in collaboration with the Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services (Medicaid), developed the Behavioral Health Home concept for the state. According to the DMHAS website, the designation is unlike the Patient Centered Medical Homes more may be familiar with, which enroll a mix of relatively well patients along with those with higher needs.

CarePlus is the first in the state to receive the “provisional” certification status. As a Joint Commission Accredited organization, they will need to meet additional accreditation requirements for the Behavioral Health Home designation, which they have stated is already in progress. The second requirement of maintaining an “embedded” or on-site medical practice has already been met: CarePlus was one of the first in the country to receive a grant from the federal government’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) allowing them to create an integrated primary care medical practice in 2010.

“It is our vision to provide our clients with the highest level of care possible,” stated CarePlus President and CEO Joseph Masciandaro. “When we opened the doors to our primary care facility in 2010, it was with the intention of providing a fully-integrated care continuum for our clients. The Behavioral Health Home certification further exemplifies how health care is evolving for this growing population of individuals who suffer from mental illness and other co-occurring disorders, and we are prepared to help them meet their needs.”

The goal of a Behavioral Health Home is to ensure that care amongst providers is of the highest quality and without redundancies. It is not designed to replace any of the existing behavioral health services in the current continuum.

Individuals, care givers or providers who feel they or someone they know can benefit from such a program, or other care providers who have questions for CarePlus on how they may enroll their patients in the program, are encouraged to contact CarePlus’ Vice President Clinical Services, Kathy Bianco APRN-BC, at 201-986-5032.