First Ever RI Behavioral Health Summit Finds Gaps & Solutions


Read our Behavioral Health White Paper

A Behavioral Health Summit White Paper: Informed by feedback collected from summit participants in real-time throughout the day, this paper identifies gaps to help inform policy, funding changes, and offer recommendations for local and state leadership.

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Almost 300 people from across the health care continuum, stakeholder organizations, and critical state leadership gathered for Rhode Island’s first ever Behavioral Health Summit on December 4, 2018.

The focus of the event was to identify gaps in behavioral health knowledge, build collaboration among services and providers, and develop solutions to address the behavioral health crisis in Rhode Island.

Dr. Annette Kussmaul, Associate Regional Administrator from CMS welcomed participants by underscoring the importance of working to improve access to, knowledge about, and coordination with behavioral health services.

Dr. Susan Wehry, Chief of Geriatrics, Department of Primary Care at the University of New England kicked off the day with a motivating and interactive keynote titled “Ascending to New Heights: High Performance in Behavioral Health.”

The day was full of speakers and panel discussions lead by authorities in the behavioral health field including Director of the State of Rhode Island: Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals, Richard Crino, (CCA), and Dr. Susan Storti from Substance Use & Mental Health Leadership Council (SUMHLC), to name a few.

The Summit gave participants a chance to learn and network with successful programs, services, and supports available locally, to those seeking care.

An identified challenge? Ensuring providers in all aspects of health care are aware and know how to access programs and services for patients.

Key themes that emerged from the Summit include:

  • The need to advocate for person-centered approaches;
  • Incorporating the consistent use of “person-centered” language;
  • Effective measurement strategies;
  • Streamlining coordination of services across settings;
  • To better communicate and coordinate care establishing inter-professional relationships;
  • Easily accessible and ongoing education would benefit the entire continuum of care providers.

Behavioral Health Summit Next Steps

Healthcentric Advisors will work with behavioral health coalitions, the Elder Mental Health & Addictions Council (EMHAC), and stakeholders like SUMHLC to develop action plans inclusive of short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals.

These groups will need to identify strategies and tactics to address the components of the action plan as well as assign responsibility to ensure forward momentum.

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