Adolescent Behavioral Health

Overview:

Tackling adolescent behavioral health in Arizona and West Virginia means increasing access to services and addressing challenges in behavioral health for adolescents and youth crisis support. Solutions must meet the behavioral health needs and increase access to services for adolescents ages 10 to 21. Through this initiative, the Medicaid programs also hope to enhance adolescent crisis prevention and response.

Review the insights gathered through the discovery process in Arizona and West Virginia, which informed the Areas of Focus.

Insights from Community Discovery

Areas of Focus

The 2022 Request for Information has two areas of focus for vendors to address in their response to the behavioral health of adolescent Medicaid members; these are not mutually exclusive. 

1. Navigating and Coordinating Care, Resources, and Services for Adolescents and Families

2. Alternative Care Models: Early Intervention, Crisis Response, and Ongoing Follow-up Services

 

1. Navigating and Coordinating Care, Resources, and Services for Adolescents and Families

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Current Challenges:

Too often, families and adolescents do not know what services are available to them nor how to access those services. Furthermore, families and adolescents have a challenging time accessing providers and services with the specialized knowledge and experience to treat patients aged 10-21. Often, the whole family needs help, support, and resources - not just the adolescent - yet service providers can be limited in their ability to meet this holistic need. Finally, for a variety of reasons, adolescents and families avoid care and often do not seek help for behavioral health conditions.

Innovation Opportunities:

Solutions should be able to create a unified way for adolescents, caregivers, and other non-behavioral health providers to find out what resources and services are available and what the options are for adolescents, specifically. A best-fit solution would utilize a holistic, family-based approach. Solutions should improve access to culturally competent care, bridge the digital divide, and build trust in the community.

2. Alternative Care Models: Early Intervention, Crisis Response, and Ongoing Follow-up Services

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Current Challenges:

From the discovery, adolescents and families too frequently begin care when they are in crisis. Care often starts at a hospital ER or intervention from law enforcement. When there is a crisis event, it is extremely difficult to find a bed at a psychiatric hospital, and adolescents can wait months for therapy and a psychiatrist. There is an immense opportunity to get adolescents into care earlier in an effort to avoid crisis altogether. 

Innovation Opportunities:

Solutions should provide accessible options for adolescents to enter behavioral health care in advance of issues escalating to crisis. These options include, but are not limited to, telehealth, virtual peer support groups, cognitive behavioral therapy interventions, or any upstream intervention that helps reduce the likelihood of a crisis event. These solutions may coordinate with multiple entry points such as schools, primary care providers, or health plan case managers. 

In the case of a crisis event, once the adolescent is stabilized with the appropriate interventions, solutions should be able to provide support services to aid in recovery and future crisis prevention. 

Solutions may also engage with adolescents more generally to aid the complicated transition into teenage years, with programmatic components to introduce and assist with mental health and substance use.