North Carolina Science to Service Project, HCA 410
1. What factors are influencing the decision of the federal and state governments to encourage the adoption of evidence-based practices into the state’s public mental health system?
One of the factors that influenced the decision of the federal and state governments to encourage the adoption of evidence-based practices into the state’s public mental health system was the fact that there were significant disparities in the treatment of mental health patients in the state (McLaughlin and Kaluzny, 2005). This situation thus resulted in less that half of the mental health patients receiving the appropriate treatment. In addition, there are newly formulated drugs for specific mental health disorders that needed to be introduced and administered to patients. The effectiveness of these new drugs was based on clinical trials, as well as medical reports from other healthcare institutions. The evidence-based practice of administering new drugs should thus be adopted in the state’s public mental health system in order to keep the healthcare standards of the state in a satisfactory condition.
The adoption of evidence-based practices into the state’s public mental health system can also decrease the incidence of mental health-related crimes in the state. There are reports that describe that a portion of criminals are driven to enact unlawful actions as they have been left undiagnosed and more importantly, untreated for so many years. Evidence-based practices can also decrease the healthcare expenses of the state as patients will be properly diagnosed and treated as early as possible, without the development of other co-morbidities.
2. How does the approach to continuous quality improvement adopted here differ from that of the Medicare and Medicaid program? Why the differences?
The approach to continuous quality improvement differs from that of the Medicare and Medicaid program in terms frequent assessment of the needs of the stakeholders. Continuous quality improvement thus entails a proactive stand that regularly checks the community and the most frequent healthcare issues that the residents are experiencing. This approach is thus characterized by modifications in the details of the program as the need arises. However, there are also features that are well appreciated in the Medicare and Medicaid program. This feature is associated with the tracking of the medications that are prescribed for mental health patients. If this method of tracking is adopted in the continuous quality improvement scheme of the state’s mental healthcare system, then the conditions will definitely be enhanced.
6. Interpreting the public mental health programs of a state as a public health issue, what do the models and interpretations in Chapter 14 suggest should be the role of NCS2S or its successor programs in the future?
The NCS2S can serve as a monitoring system for mental health programs in every state. This program regularly checks the settings of the mental health services of the state and modifications are thus implemented as the need arises. In addition, any new evidence-based practices are incorporated in the current mental health program, in order to maximize the potential of the program. More importantly, the adoption of evidence-based practices in mental health programs may decrease the morbidity and other associated cases resulting from mental health disorders. It is indeed true that mental health could be a public health issue because these disorders can result in disorderly and even unlawful actions from patients, thus harming the public. The NCS2S can thus serve as a role model that gauges the effectiveness of the current mental health program and suggests any changes that could improve delivery of healthcare services to mental health patients. The NCS2S can also act as a substrate for maximizing the potential of a healthcare system in addressing the public health issue of mental health. This program can thus be used as a model for future healthcare programs.
McLaughlin, C.P. and Kaluzny, A.D. (2005). Continuous quality improvement in health care, 3rd ed. New York: Jones and Bartlett. 678 pages.