The behavioral health field is in dire straits and desperate for disruption.
Let me tell you why.
Over the better part of the past decade, the following has happened on our watch…..
- Providers working with, to now, working for insurance companies
- Advocacy for the patient/client has turned into “funding more days” of care instead of placing them at the appropriate facility that meets and/or exceeds their needs
- Professionals leaving in droves from their beloved profession (both mental health and substance abuse)
- Private equity and VC money investing in the space and demanding increased returns on their investment over demands on quality of care for their “acquisition”
- Passionate and purpose driven people with real lived experiences losing their gusto
- Small/medium providers shutting their doors that can’t weather the storm; financially, operationally, and competitively.
- Transitional care has left clients holding the bag as they seek either less acute or more acute transitional services with little to no care coordination from provider to provider.
- More regulation and less involvement from the field in sweeping policy changes that is burying the professional teams
- Staffing crisis across the board, especially direct support staff
- Providers are being asked to do more, with less
- Lack of innovation from brick and mortar facilities/businesses as meeting demands of day to day operations is mission critical
- Big providers gobbling up mom and pop shops. These facilities are known for their heart and soul! Sad!
- Increased compliance standards for clinicians, therapists, psychiatrists, etc that are struggling to simply meet demands of caseload and current documentation standards/protocols.
- Large scale burnout (all levels)..regardless of increase of pay.
Our field is getting tired and needs a shot of adrenaline coupled with disruption and innovation.
Sure, the adoption of telehealth, or a one off new line item(s) like peer recovery support, or a value based care approach to payment with insurance will be nice, but it’s not enough.
We need something bigger, and not talking a rate increase.
I’m confident and hopeful all those problems listed above have solutions. It’s going to take a village of all the providers, insurance, policy, regulatory bodies, etc to truly come together.
Finally, to the staff and individuals (professionals and non-professionals) working in the field, you matter SO much. In a field where you often go unrecognized for all your hard work, you are indeed valued, important, and doing such meaningful work. I hope you see what see, an operational conundrum of epic proportions that providers are weathering.
To the individuals receiving services in any capacity in the entire health and human services field, you deserve more and we will work to deliver.
Here’s to working together, never quitting, and figuring it out.