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State guts funding, but Cummins finds a way

December 23, 2010
by Dennis Grantham, Editor-in-Chief
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Every reader ought to have a look at “Game change or game over?” an excellent piece in the November/December issue of Behavioral Healthcare, which probably just arrived in your (real) mailbox.

When Indiana’s providers were confronted with a 30-plus percent Medicaid cut and a mandate to transform services, initial assessments of the impact for providers around the state, and especially for consumers, were ugly, to say the least. An initial impact study at Cummins Behavioral Health Systems forecast that one in four consumers could no longer be served and one in four Cummins employees would lose their jobs. Other providers cut staff and closed facilities.

In an excellent piece, Cummins regional manager Robb Enlow provides a real nuts-and-bolts look at how the organization’s Indianapolis/Marion County regional team responded to, and largely averted, what could have been a real disaster. The organizational reengineering effort that he describes—as well as the exceptional efforts undertaken to reassess, restructure, and preserve services for individual consumers—is a must-read for all.

Cummins situation is not unique, of course, since behavioral health providers and consumers face the same funding threats every day. But what is unique is this article’s candor and openness. The author pulls no punches and spares no details.

Just this morning, as I listened to a Cleveland-area radio station, I was reminded that Ohio—along with many other states—faces a gigantic budget deficit that’s sure to mean more painful Medicaid cuts ahead.

But work like that going on at Cummins—and maybe at your organization too(?)—suggests a positive way forward. What do you think of what Cummins did? What would you do (or what did you do) in the same situation?
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Dennis Grantham

Dennis Grantham

@BH_dgrantham

www.behavioral.net