CTC-RI recently held a Year 2 midpoint meeting for practices participating in the NCQA Behavioral Health (BH) Distinction Readiness Collaborative. We asked Gregory Steinmetz, MD of Associates in Primary Care Medicine, to reflect on how receiving the Distinction has benefited his practice and his patients.
How has receiving the NCQA behavioral health distinction helped improve patient care?
NCQA IBH distinction has helped improve patient care at my office specifically by expanding our screenings for addiction and suicidal behavior. We now have processes in place to help the clinician make a more thorough and efficient evaluation of these conditions, and our IBH clinician helps us to access the right level of treatment. Our behavioral health treatment is more comprehensive and the processes enable us to make this care consistent among our providers.
How has receiving this distinction helped improve practice processes, such as onboarding new providers?
New providers benefit from the IBH processes because, when you have a surrounding team of MAs, providers, and IBH clinicians already following the new procedures, a new provider can easily step in and benefit from the completed screens and quickly figure out how to get help when issues are identified.
What would you say to other practices who are considering applying for the NCQA behavioral health distinction?
Applying for the distinction is well worth the effort! It is important to have an IBH clinician and other providers who are supportive of practice transformation. The effort is worth it in terms of better patient care, but for this to be a success, it has to be a team effort. CTC-RI clinicians are very experienced and excellent in walking a practice through the process, which is crucial to the project's success.