SPeople 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 met a major milestone in 2014 when Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care began work under a contract with us to provide integrated health services.

We met another major milestone in late 2014 when we awarded contracts to provide integrated health services in the rest of the state beginning October 2015.  This important procurement will set the stage for providing integrated behavioral and physical health services for folks with a serious mental illness – much like the Maricopa County contract.

As a result of the progress made in improving the performance of the State’s public behavioral health system, the Maricopa County Superior Court dismissed the Arnold v. Sarn lawsuit in 2014.  The final agreement approved by the court specifically concerns care and services for people with a serious mental illness.

We’ll be using evidence-based tools to evaluate the system’s performance, including ongoing Quality Service Reviews, Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set Performance Measures, Network Capacity Analyses, and adherence with SAMHSA Fidelity Tools.  Our Arnold v. Sarn website will continue to provide transparency on our performance under the Settlement Agreement.