Behavioral healthcare means services for addiction and mental health

February 6, 2012

Note: This article appears in the FY2011 Annual Report edition of Reach, which publishes later this week.

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Rosecrance now one of the most comprehensive behavioral health networks in Illinois

We now pronounce you Behavioral Healthcare.

The union of addiction treatment and mental health services places Rosecrance at the leading edge of the industry and positions the organization to offer patients the best in integrated care.

The category of “behavioral health” may be unfamiliar to some people, but it is the new terminology for the services Rosecrance delivers at all of its campuses.

In addition, the term best describes a more holistic approach to wellness that recognizes the importance of behavioral health to physical health.

The merger of Janet Wattles Center into Rosecrance makes the organization one of the most comprehensive behavioral health networks in Illinois. That bodes well for patient care, said Philip W. Eaton, Rosecrance President/CEO.

“True integrated care occurs when behavioral health needs are not necessarily relegated to stand-alone organizations,” Eaton said. “Our goal over the coming year is to offer ‘any-door access’ to services at our campuses as we continue to integrate services.”
When complete, any-door access should allow new patients entering through the front door at any Rosecrance campus to receive the behavioral health services they need. Inroads have been made in that direction. Addiction treatment services soon will be offered at the Ware Center, the renamed mental health center in downtown Rockford.

Recognizing the growing need for treatment of people with dual diagnoses of mental illness and substance abuse, Rosecrance opened a new inpatient unit in February at the Harrison adult campus to serve these patients. Across the organization, clinical staff members report a growing number of patients with co-occurring disorders.
A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that by the year 2020, mental illness and addiction will surpass physical diseases as major causes for disability around the world.

On an encouraging note, national healthcare reform and parity legislation should open doors for patients who seek treatment for behavioral health issues.

The National Advisory Mental Health Council reports positive outcomes for individuals who receive appropriate care. For instance, the Council reports these success rates, by behavioral health category: 80 percent for bipolar disorder; 65-80 percent for major depression; 60 percent for schizophrenia; 70 percent for addiction.

From a positive perspective, Eaton said, behavioral health should be viewed as the desired outcome, not how individuals begin their relationship with Rosecrance.
“We start with broken people struggling with their place in life, whether from addiction or mental illness,” Eaton said. “Our staff is motivated by a belief in the human spirit to heal. We see it daily in what we call the miracle of recovery.”

An update on parity

Rosecrance Health Network played a central role in parity legislation that was passed by the 2011 Illinois General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. Pat Quinn in August.

The new law echoes federal legislation that prohibits insurance companies from discriminating against people who seek treatment for mental health or substance use disorders.

Renée Popovits, general counsel for RHN, championed parity legislation on the national and state levels, and she played a key role in drafting the state bill that eventually became law.

“The issue is simple: Behavioral healthcare is primary healthcare,” Rosecrance President/CEO Philip Eaton wrote in a Rockford Register Star guest column.

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