TThe mind and body aren’t separated – and neither should the healthcare delivery system – especially for folks with a serious mental illness.  People with a serious mental illness die more than 25 years earlier than the general population…an unacceptable health disparity in anybody’s book.  The increased mortality is largely from treatable medical conditions caused by modifiable risk factors like smoking, obesity, substance abuse, and not accessing primary and acute medical care.

We recognized the need to address this unacceptable health disparity when we put together our Strategic Map and Plan that includes integrating behavioral and acute healthcare.  We passed a major milestone earlier this year when Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care began work on a contract to provide integrated behavioral health services.

We passed another major milestone today, when we awarded contracts to provide integrated behavioral health services in the rest of the state beginning October 1, 2015.  This important procurement solicited bids for providing integrated behavioral and physical health for folks with a serious mental illness – much like the Maricopa County contract.  People in the general mental health or substance abuse categories will get behavioral health services from the RBHA and their physical health care from an AHCCCS acute care health plan.

The solicitation consolidated several of the current Geographic Service Areas.  When the new contracts go live in October of 2015, we’ll have a total of 3 service zones (North, South, & Maricopa) – rather than the current 6.  We’ve also ensured that tribal land aligns with the service areas.  Of course, tribes wishing to continue as a Tribal Behavioral Health Authority would continue as-is.

You can visit our Behavioral Health Services Blog for more information about who was awarded the contracts, links to the solicitation materials, and summary information about the proposal that received the awards.