Substance Abuse & Mental Health/April 2014

Westat assesses the impact of behavioral health issues and how to address those challenges.

Innovative App to Help with Stress

For more than a decade Westat has supported product development and dissemination for the Homeless Programs and Community Support Programs branches of the Center for Mental Health Services through the Knowledge Application Program (KAP).

KAP integrates science-based health communication and social marketing activities into learning products to improve services for persons with mental illnesses and/or substance disorders.

In 2013, Westat developed a mobile app designed around cognitive, behavioral, and mindfulness approaches. The app provides both audio exercises and text-guided exercises to help enhance well-being. By guiding them through a series of steps, users can readily process any stressful or difficult situations that may be occurring in their lives.

Systems of Care: How Do They Help Youth with Mental Health Needs?

"Systems of care" is an organizational model developed to improve organizing, coordinating, and delivering children’s mental health services and addressing clinical and functional outcomes of children, youth, and young adults with significant mental health needs.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Center for Mental Health Services has funded 72 systems of care planning and implementation grants and expects to continue to fund approximately 35 new grants every year for the next 5 years. These grants help develop integrated home- and community-based systems and supports for children and youth with serious emotional disturbances and their families.

Westat is evaluating the extent to which these grants are able to implement the systems of care principles and values to expand and coordinate care for children with mental health needs.

In collaboration with a variety of academic and advocacy institutions, Westat will collect data from grantees using a variety of methods, including stakeholder interviews, web-based surveys, and direct data entry of client-level services and outcomes in web-based electronic data systems.

We will also make use of our state-of-the-art capabilities in geographic information systems to collect data.

Investigating How Medicaid-Managed Plans Coordinate Behavioral Treatments

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) has asked Westat to help it understand the extent to which Medicaid-managed care plans, including managed behavioral health organizations, coordinate care for individuals with chronic physical illnesses and behavioral health conditions.

In light of the growing numbers of people with these co-morbid conditions newly covered through the Affordable Care Act Medicaid expansion, identifying innovative approaches that can improve the quality, experience, and cost-effectiveness of care is essential.

Westat will review the published and gray literature, consult with an expert panel, and conduct six site visits to inform and support research findings. We will deliver our findings to ASPE in September 2014.

Evaluating the Success of a Culturally Targeted Treatment Program

La Clínica del Pueblo (LCDP) developed and implemented Volviendo a Vivir (VaV) to provide culturally competent intensive outpatient substance abuse treatment and HIV prevention services to Latinos released from incarceration within the past 2 years. This comprehensive program applies group intervention models, individual therapy sessions, HIV testing and counseling, and case management services. Clients progress to different stages of treatment as they successfully meet their individual and programmatic substance abuse treatment goals.

Initially sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (SAMHSA/CSAT), VaV continues to addresses the unique needs of this high-risk and underserved target population.

Westat assessed the success of implementation and program effectiveness, and identified factors associated with successful program completion. The evaluation team provided support to LCDP on required progress reports and data submissions to CSAT, collected qualitative and quantitative data, implemented data quality control measures, and analyzed primary and secondary data (e.g., program staff interviews; participant intake, discharge and follow up interviews; participant satisfaction surveys; monthly service delivery logs documenting number and type of services provided per client).

Westat also developed and maintained a database to assist La Clínica del Pueblo in managing program and client-level data from multiple sources that included data extracted from LCDP’s medical information system, which tracked all patient services from intake to discharge. Data summaries were included in semi-annual reports submitted to SAMHSA/CSAT and were reported once each quarter to LCDP to help improve program implementation.

By providing comprehensive and culturally appropriate physical and behavioral health care services, this program expands access to quality services and increases patient participation in all aspects of clinic operations and services.

* Related Internet link - Westat is NOT responsible for the privacy practices or the content on other web sites. (See Westat's Privacy Policy.)