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OC Health Care Agency receives $18 million to support Behavioral Health System Transformation Innovation Project

The OC Health Care Agency (HCA) has been approved for up to $18 million over three years from the State Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission (MHSOAC) to fund the Behavioral Health System Transformation Innovation (INN) Project.

“Through the INN project, we will create a tool that provides guidance to any member of the public as they seek resources within the complex system,” said Chairwoman Lisa Bartlett, Fifth District Supervisor.

The INN project was born after the community identified the fragmented public and private behavioral health systems as a barrier to receiving the right care at the right time. “The project, unlike any other effort in California or nationally, aims to create a public and private behavioral health partnership that is responsive, coordinated and accessible to all Orange County residents,” said Vice Chair Michelle Steel, Second District Supervisor.

Oftentimes, patients in need don’t know where to turn for care or how to pay for services that fall outside of their existing health plan, if they have one. “This project will ensure that treatment for mental health and substance use disorders will be provided to our most needy patients without regards to method of payment,” said Supervisor Andrew Do, First District. “This funding will allow local providers to serve all residents regardless of their insurance status, insurance type and/or level of clinical need.”

The funding will support the development of this system-transformation at two levels. “The first is by aligning legal fiscal and regulatory requirements. The County of Orange will work diligently to coordinate State and local agencies, health plans, philanthropic and non-profit organizations,” said Supervisor Don Wagner, Third District. “The second is by developing user-friendly tools that will improve healthcare access for those who need it most. We are grateful to our partners, County staff and the community for enhancing the quality of life for all Orange County residents.”

The INN project will include building a comprehensive digital resource navigator. This tool, which will be available and leveraged through Be Well OC’s mission, will consolidate and integrate disparate directories of resources into a single source, making it easier for users to navigate.

The budget was approved at the MHSOAC meeting on May 23, 2019 in Los Angeles. The three-year timeline will begin when funds are first spent or when services are first delivered, whichever comes first. The County will be responsible for submitting an annual report outlining milestones and lessons learned.

“We are excited that the MHSOAC supported our project that will improve access and delivery of behavioral health care in Orange County,” said Dr. Jeffrey Nagel, the HCA’s Director of Behavioral Health Services. “This project wouldn’t be possible without the dedication of our community and the willingness of our partners to collaborate so that we may provide optimal care for all Orange County residents.”

The vision of Be Well OC is to lead the nation in optimal mental health and wellness for all residents of Orange County. Be Well brings together a robust, community-based, cross-sector strategy – public, private, academic, faith-based and others – to create a community-wide coordinated ecosystem to support optimal mental health. For more information visit bewelloc.org.

This article was released by the OC Health Care Agency.