Reasons to Consider Joining the Conference of Allegheny Providers
Current and Past Projects
TeleHealth Position Paper — 2017
The Conference of Allegheny Providers is proposing that Allegheny County offer support for the use of tele-psychiatry in Allegheny for children and adults. The focused areas for the use of tele-psychiatry are outpatient; IOP and partial hospital levels of care. The Conference of Allegheny Providers is requesting support for the application process with OMHSAS and payment with the local MCOs. In Allegheny County, providers can leverage the use of telepsychiatry as they manage vacant positions either on a short term basis until a permanent physician is found or as a permanent treatment team member with a caseload. Telepsychiatry can also be leveraged to provide second opinion consultations/evaluations. Local providers are committed to providing the service and supports necessary to make the use of tele-psychiatry a successful modality. – Position Paper
System of Care Position Paper — 2017
People with behavioral health treatment and support needs as well as those with intellectual disabilities have, most certainly, experienced the ravages of stigma and discrimination. It has been a seemingly never ending struggle for them to be treated fairly, respectfully and with equanimity. Likewise, and consistent with the experience of the people with behavioral health and IDD needs, because rate adjustments are seldom and not scheduled with any regularity, the providers experience the struggle of almost constantly needing to seek funding and/or reimbursement rates that are at least consistent with the rate of inflation and the cost of doing business. Inflation, regulatory burden and marketplace fluctuations that drive salary demands and recruitment of staff at all levels, including psychiatry have gone unaddressed but have had reverberations within the provider community placing many providers on the margin of bankruptcy. This paper describes the position of the Conference of Allegheny Providers (CAP) regarding an enduring solution to assure the health of the provider system and therefore, those it serves and the community. – Position Paper
IBHS While Paper — 2017
Leaders in the clinical delivery of Behavioral Health Rehabilitative Services (BHRS) for children (ages 3-21) that require an intensive level of service (for example, individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and those who have other behavioral health diagnoses that result in significant impairment of functioning) have seen a growing challenge related to the retention of qualified and competent clinicians over the past several years. This service, which is proposed to be re-designed into a stand-alone chapter of regulations known as Intensive Behavioral Health Services (IBHS), will maintain or increase the staffing requirements needed to serve children and families. which will strain an already depleted workforce. CAP has developed a White Paper to outline the problems of this change and the challenges these changes present within the provider community. The paper has been forwarded to Allegheny County office of Behavioral Health and to state officials at OMHSAS and ODP. – Position Paper
MD Capacity/Models of Care Project — 2010
The Purpose of this project is to bring CAP member agencies together to discuss issues; share strategies and develop guidelines/standards/models for determining physician capacity in the community mental health centers. A secondary purpose will be to use the information to inform the CAP executive team in an effort to secure an increase in rates for physician services and for those services/activities that support the physicians.
- Identify current practices in the CMHC’s.
- Identify practices within agencies that manage this process well.
- Involve physicians in the discussion of capacity; productivity; and appropriate models of care.
- Create a forum/tool for providers to use to help with internal decision making regarding physician resources that is based upon a determined standard of practice/care that is appropriate for this setting.
- Increase reimbursement for physician services that allow for additional service activities such as: proper supervision and staffing; doc to doc collaboration; coordination of care; teaching. Allow for a model of care that does not use a business process to “cover the cost” of physicians by using methods of over booking and using the MD for “Med visits only”.
- Share best practices among member providers.
Trauma Informed Care Training — 2007-2010
A collaborative was formed with the Allegheny County Office of Behavioral Health, Community Care Behavioral Health Organization, Allegheny HealthChoices, Inc., and the Children’s Committee of the Conference of Allegheny Providers’ to promote trauma informed care to the Child/Adolescent service providers. Two large conferences were held with over 150 participants in each training session which highlighted national expertise in the field.
A three day training conducted by a local expert, Sharon Sutton was held next. Sharon Sutton has provided trainings to seventy child/adolescent service coordinators, 30 student assistance providers, and from the Office of Behavioral Health fifty Adult Justice Related Services (JRS) and adult mental health specialists.
Sharon Sutton has also completed a 20 hour intensive training followed by 24 hours of supervision to 14 local therapists from various disciplines, i.e.: early intervention, residential treatment facilities and outpatient therapists. In total we have reached approximately 400 professionals through these trainings to date.
Problematic Regulations — 2004 and 2009
Back in 2004 a group of CAP member discussed the difficulty navigating the culture of an underfunded system struggling with regulations that made this situation even worse. We collectively made the decision that we would stop the cycle of complaining and do something about it. The Conference of Allegheny providers brought together members to analyze all the regulations identified problematic and provide feedback to the state. CAP took the lead on this project and was soon joined in the ranks by the Pennsylvania Community Providers Association (PCPA) who took the cause beyond Allegheny County and across the state. Our local work provided the foundation of information gathered. While nothing has changed in relation to this particular body of work, we have recently begun to refine this task into more workable waiver requests. We also demonstrated the strength of CAP to come together for joint work and demonstrate our leadership in statewide initiatives.
“How do you spell SUCCESS?” Recognition Luncheon — 2006-2009
In this field, each person “spells” it differently. On April 2, 2009 the Conference of Allegheny Providers sponsored the third annual “Celebration of Success” to recognize the many accomplishments of the individuals we serve and support. Over twenty agencies participated and each one honored an individual for various achievements including moving into their own home, adopting a more healthy lifestyle through weight loss, getting a new job, or volunteering in the community. Participants, staff, family and friends enjoyed a delicious lunch and fabulous door prizes and each honoree was presented with a framed “lifetime achievement” certificate. Watch for details about the next Celebration of Success to be held in Spring 2010. You won’t want to miss it!
“Help Wanted? You got it!” Job Fair — 2007-2009
On Wednesday November 18, 2009 more than 30 local MH/MR agencies participated in the third annual area wide job fair at the IBEW building on the South Side. The goal was to attract serious job seekers and bring attention to the staffing needs of local MH/MR providers. Almost 200 people attended the event and many of them came prepared with resumes. Some agencies held on-site interviews and some actually hired people on the spot. The need is so great in our field for well qualified and competent staff. Working together as a community of providers is a great way to meet some of the challenges we all face.
Advocacy on Behavioral Health Managed Care Rates—2004, 2006, 2007, 2009
The Conference of Allegheny Providers has taken on the task of advocating for higher rates for services provided under the Medical Assistance (Medicaid) HealthChoices Health Plan. This has involved on several occasions collecting data across providers on the unit cost for different services. The data was then shared with Community Care Behavioral Health (Behavioral Health Managed Care Company) and the Allegheny County Office of Behavioral Health. Over the past five years the rates for the following services have been increased once or multiple times:
- Outpatient Therapy
- Outpatient Evaluations
- Family Based MH Services
- Children’s Partial Hospital
- Peer Support/Peer Specialist
Compensation Surveys — 2002 and 2006
The Conference of Allegheny Providers and the Allegheny County Department of Human Services sponsored a 2002 Compensation Survey in order to provide a tool to assist member agencies to attract and retain employees by establishing and maintaining competitive compensation practices. The survey looked at non-management, benchmark jobs. Bench mark jobs were those jobs that were easily defined and understood and existed, similarly defined, in other organizations. The survey was repeated in 2006.
The Conference of Allegheny providers employed the services of Kimberlee Kane, an independent compensation consultant. Participating member organizations received a complimentary copy of the survey results for their participation. Organizations were able to look at their organization using aggregate benchmark data. This local data served as a valuable benchmark for member agencies and there was no cost to members.
Health Information, Portability and Accountability (HIPAA) Training — 2003
The Conference of Allegheny Providers provided training to all member agencies on the Health Information, Portability and Accountability Privacy regulation. Classes were provided in different Community College of Allegheny County campuses at no charge to agencies. Continuing Education Credits were given to staff and trainers were paid by the CCAC with funding from the Conference of Allegheny Providers Recruitment and Retention Training fund. Approximately two thousand staff were trained over a three month period of time to comply with the new HIPAA Privacy regulations.
Recruitment and Retention Funding — 2002
As part of a state wide effort to improve the recruitment and retention of staff, the Conference of Allegheny Providers pooled their mental health funds dedicated to this recruitment and retention initiative. The funds were used to provide training for mental health staff. Various training was provided using the Conference of Allegheny Providers as a method to coordinate, advertise and manage the cost of these trainings.
Unfunded Mandate for Residential Service Salaries Increases — 2002
An Living Wage Ordinance was introduced in the Allegheny County Council proposing a substantial increase to the starting salaries of all entities that conducted business with Allegheny County. The Conference of Allegheny Providers vigorously objected as this would have constituted an substantial increase in expenses with no ability to raise additional funds to pay for the unfunded mandate. Testimony was given to in severalCommittee meetings, in a special hearing and in the County Council meeting where the final vote took place. Ultimately the ordinance failed to obtain enough votes to pass.
County Executive Officer Debate — 1999
As Allegheny County shifted it governance from a three commissioner system to a County Executive, the Conference of Allegheny County joined forces with the University of Pittsburgh Institute for Politics. A Human Services Forum was developed with invitation given to both County Executive candidates, Jim Roddey and Cyril Wecht. The audience numbered approximately 200 people in the Pitt Student Union. Questions around the funding and delivery of human services were posed to both candidates.