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Magellan rolls out CANS assessment in Nebraska, trains providers to use it

December 1, 2010
by News release
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Avon, Conn. - Magellan Health Services, Inc., (Nasdaq:MGLN) has rolled out a proven outcomes-based tool, the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) assessment, for use by residential treatment and other behavioral health providers in Nebraska, that promises to improve the effectiveness of behavioral health care received by children and adolescents.
With the rollout, the CANS assessment became the official outcomes reporting tool for behavioral health Medicaid providers as part of a statewide effort to achieve better clinical outcomes for children and youth. The CANS assessment, used today in 38 states, is a decision-support tool with applications to assist in creating treatment plans, assessing progress and needs, and identifying best practices to share among providers.

“CANS is proven to aid providers in quickly and effectively matching children’s needs with the right services,” said Sue Mimick, general manager of Magellan’s Nebraska Care Management Center, which manages behavioral health services for individuals throughout the state. “Implementing this tool will help ensure that young people receive the right treatment, at the right time, in the most appropriate setting, throughout the continuum of care in order to help them go on to live productive lives.”

In preparation for the rollout to Medicaid providers, Magellan Behavioral Health of Nebraska engaged John Lyons, Ph.D., the developer of the CANS tool, to train and certify 200 behavioral health workers to conduct CANS assessments, and another 90 to conduct training as well. Certification is a requirement for all clinicians who administer the assessment.

“We share Magellan’s view that there needs to be a fundamental change in the way that residential treatment is provided to children and adolescents,” said Vivianne Chaumont, director of the Division of Medicaid and Long-Term Care in the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. “CANS is a positive, strengths-based approach to communicating outcomes and sharing successes that can help providers identify and deliver the most effective care. Thanks to Magellan’s close working relationship with Dr. Lyons, our providers were afforded the very best training possible.”

Dr. Lyons conducted two days of training in Nebraska, which was open to all Nebraska behavioral health and substance use providers. Bachelor’s degrees are required for those seeking certification, and those trained as trainers have to hold master’s degrees. Going forward, Magellan will host monthly “super-user” calls with trainers to support them in the use of CANS and share best practices. A follow-up visit from Dr. Lyons in the spring will support this effort.

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