Utah system's Mental Health Integration program embeds mental health screening and treatment within primary care and select specialty practices.

Intermountain lands $100,000 Hearst Health Prize for mental health work

By Bernie Monegain
11:08 AM

Salt-Lake City-based Intermountain Healthcare has won the $100,000 Hearst Health Prize to support its Mental Health Integration program, which embeds mental health screening and treatment within primary care and select specialty practices.

The prize is given to recognize an organization’s or an individual’s outstanding achievement in managing or improving health in the United States.

“Intermountain Healthcare’s Mental Health Integration program is very impressive in its focus on clinical quality, improving outcomes, enhancing the patient experience and providing value,” Hearst Health president Gregory Dorn, MD said in a statement. 

Approximately 44 million American adults – 18 percent of the total adult population – have a mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Intermountain created the Mental Health Integration program in 2000 for patients, which made mental health evaluation and service part of the routine care for all Intermountain patients.

The Intermountain initiative stems from a decade-long study, one of the largest of its kind. It was led by Brent James, MD, the health system's chief quality officer and executive director of the Intermountain Institute for Healthcare Delivery Research.

[Also: Intermountain study shows integrating mental and physical health services leads to better outcomes]

The research tracked 113,452 adult patients who received care from 2003 through 2013 in 113 primary care practices Intermountain Healthcare.

"For patients, the bottom line of the study is that getting care in a team-based setting where medical providers work hand-in-hand with mental health professionals results in higher screening rates, more proactive treatment, and better clinical outcomes for complex chronic disease," Intermountain Healthcare scientist Brenda Reiss-Brennan, one of the study's authors, wrote in JAMA.

The Hearst Health Prize applications were evaluated by a panel of judges based on the program's population health impact or outcome, demonstrated by measurable improvement; use of evidence-based interventions and best practices to improve the quality of care; promotion of communication, collaboration and engagement; scalability and sustainability; and innovation.

The other Hearst Health Prize finalists were the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association for their “Target: Stroke” initiative. That program aims to increase the number of eligible stroke patients receiving tissue plasminogen activator within the specified time frame in order to break up blood clots to protect the brain from damage that may cause disability or death. Hospitals participating in the program dropped average treatment times from 74 minutes to 59 minutes.

The California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative based at Stanford University was another finalist. That program is working to reduce preventable maternal mortality and morbidity, and to reduce racial-ethnic disparities in birth outcomes.

Several organizations also received honorable mention: Baylor College of Medicine; Children’s Health System of Texas; Corporation for Supportive Housing, CSH; Dornsife School of Public Health, Drexel University; Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force; NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital; Rush University Medical Center.

Twitter: @Bernie_HITN
Email the writer: bernie.monegain@himssmedia.com

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