National Quality Forum Takes Action for Mental Health Awareness Month with Release 



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MAY 06, 2019

CONTACT: Proof Strategies
press@qualityforum.org

National Quality Forum Takes Action for Mental Health Awareness Month with Release
The nation’s leading resource for health care quality measurement and improvement releases new resource guide on serious mental illness to improve access to high-quality behavioral health care


WASHINGTON, DC - Today, the National Quality Forum released the NQP™ Playbook: Improving Access to High-Quality Care for Individuals with Serious Mental Illness (SMI). In response to the urgent demand for practical, proven approaches, this valuable resource provides tangible solutions, concrete strategies, implementation exemplars, and a number of resources for healthcare delivery organizations and clinicians committed to improving access to care and outcomes for individuals living with SMI.

Today, approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. experience mental illness in a given year and nearly 11.2 million experience serious mental illness. SMI is defined as a behavioral, mental, or emotional disorder that seriously impairs everyday function and major life activities. SMI not only affects the quality of life for the individuals who experience it, but also affects the loved ones who surround them and has significant negative effects on the US economy.

Despite years of advocating for improved care and parity in behavioral health, several factors – notably the stigma of mental illness and a significant shortage of behavioral health clinicians - continue to inhibit access to high-quality behavioral healthcare and impede improved patient outcomes.

“Now, more than ever, we understand the impact of serious mental illness that exists across all socio-economic classes and the vast need for integrated behavioral health care,” said Shantanu Agrawal, MD, MPhil, NQF President and Chief Executive Officer. “Mental Health Awareness Month is an important time to reflect on the urgency of these needs. Our new how-to guide exemplifies the critical work we are doing to lead national efforts and champion valuable resources to improve access to vital care.”

For the past 20 years, NQF’s work has been anchored in its commitment to community and collaboration with industry leaders, stakeholders, and its members. The National Quality Partners™ Serious Mental Illness Action Team convened for the past eight months to address this national health priority and develop strategies to improve care for individuals with SMI. This resulted in the April 2019 launch of a national Call to Action on SMI prompting diverse community partners, patient advocacy organizations, policymakers, and other healthcare industry leaders to work with one another to remove barriers that prohibit individuals with SMI from getting the high-quality care they need.

In tackling this national priority, NQF has also endorsed approximately 45 measures in its Behavioral Health and Substance Use Measure portfolio and recently released Redesigning Care: A How-to Guide for Hospitals and Health Systems Seeking to Implement, Strengthen and Sustain Telebehavioral Health in partnership with the American Hospital Association (AHA) Center for Health Innovation. The Guide supports both hospital and health system efforts to deliver innovative, high-quality telebehavioral health services to communities across the nation overcoming geographic distances and enhancing access to care, particularly in underserved and rural areas or both.

Purchase the NQP™ Playbook: Improving Access to High-Quality Care for Individuals with Serious Mental Illness (SMI).

Access additional details on NQF’s recent work in behavioral health and purchase the how-to guide Redesigning Care: A How-to Guide for Hospitals and Health Systems Seeking to Implement, Strengthen and Sustain Telebehavioral Health done in partnership with AHA.

###

The National Quality Forum (NQF) is the nation’s resource for healthcare quality measurement and improvement. NQF is an independent, not-for-profit, membership-based organization that brings healthcare stakeholders together to recommend quality measures and improvement strategies that reduce costs and help patients get better care. Learn more at www.qualityforum.org.