Des Moines, Iowa — Magellan Behavioral Care of Iowa is managing a new state program, Iowa Behavioral Health Intervention Services (BHIS), formerly known as Remedial Services and administered by the Iowa Medicaid Enterprise (IME). Magellan has worked to ensure a seamless transition of services for children with serious emotional disturbance and their families requiring behavioral health support.
“Magellan brings a clinical perspective to ensure that individuals seeking behavioral health intervention services are provided the most appropriate, evidence-based treatment based on their diagnosis,” explained Joan M. Discher, general manager of Magellan’s Iowa Care Management Center. “Given the breadth of services we provide in Iowa, we have integrated the BHIS program into our services and are providing a comprehensive, coordinated approach to care that enhances the effectiveness of treatment, improves outcomes for children and reduces unnecessary costs for the state of Iowa.”
BHIS helps children with serious emotional disturbance by teaching them age-appropriate ways to manage behavior. Provided in a community-based or residential group care environment, these interventions focus on conflict resolution, problem-solving, interpersonal skills, communication skills and social skills, and involve the family in the treatment process.
The transition of services, which occurred on July 1, 2011, was overseen by the Remedial Services Transition Committee. The committee convened last year and was charged by the Iowa General Assembly with reviewing the possibility of moving Remedial Services to the Iowa Plan. This stakeholder group, including state officials, providers and parents, also recommended changes to the program to improve quality of care and reduce costs.
“We decided to include BHIS within the Iowa Plan because it will promote greater coordination of care and will enhance quality and outcomes for Iowa’s Medicaid recipients,” said Jennifer Vermeer, director of IME and a member of the Transition Committee. “We took extra care to ensure a smooth transition for providers and the families who receive these services.”
“The emotional impact of mental illness can often leave a family to feel alone,” said Kelly Ramus, a parent and family advocate who also served on the Transition Committee. “With BHIS, children and families can learn new skills for family empowerment and stability. This is an exciting time for mental health services in Iowa.”
Iowa residents who receive BHIS services were notified of the changes to the program by mail earlier this year.