Behavioral Healthcare Providers Demand Continually Increases, Especially in Pandemic

John Talbot, PhD, OPEN MINDS, to Share Expertise and Strategies at Conference October 30, 2020

October 5, 2020

Only 28.2 percent of youth experiencing severe major depressive episodes received some consistent treatment, and more than 10 million adults reported unmet mental healthcare needs, which represents no change since 2011, according to Mental Health America's 2020 State of Mental Health in America Report. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in significantly further increased demand for mental health care, as well as substance use disorder (SUD) treatment, among individuals who have had these needs prior to the public health emergency. Many others have developed depression and anxiety and, in many cases, turned to substance use to cope, during the pandemic. To help mental healthcare and SUD treatment providers develop strategies to increase access through new business models, John Talbot, PhD, Senior Associate at OPEN MINDS, will share his expertise and insights during the New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies' (NJAMHAA's) Annual Conference, Reimagining Health Care, on October 30, 2020.

Since long before the pandemic, providers have been contending with several trends that compounded the obstacles to meet the increasing demand, according to Dr. Talbot. There has been a heightened focus on integrated care (treating each person holistically, addressing physical and mental health issues and substance use); a growing trend toward value-based reimbursement (providers being paid based on health outcomes achieved, rather than the volume of services they deliver); the use of new technologies, especially telehealth; more emphasis on consumer choice; and increased competition. "COVID exacerbated these challenges and introduced others," he said.

"Prior to COVID, many behavioral healthcare providers were not prepared to address these issues. Now, we're in a crisis and for providers on the edge of any margin, this can be brutal," Dr. Talbot stated. "Providers need sophisticated systems to track outcomes. Many providers wait until they have data from payers to see how they're doing. That's too late," he stressed.

Behavioral healthcare providers need new strategies and tools to reinforce their long-term viability so they can continue to be a vital resource for children and adults with mental illnesses and SUDs. This is especially true for small organizations, which continually struggle with limited resources. "There is much more pressure on smaller organizations, which led to consolidations," Dr. Talbot noted.

"The challenge for leadership is that they need crisis plans while also doing strategic planning," he added.

"On the bright side, opportunity is massive. Those who can maximize the opportunities will do really well," Dr. Talbot stated. During his keynote presentation, he will describe the changing behavioral healthcare environment, define operationalizing strategies and identify the steps provider organizations need to take.

"Considering Dr. Talbot's expertise on every aspect of behavioral health from an operational standpoint, as well as how to take businesses through transformative times, he is an excellent choice for our keynote presentation as we need to reimagine health care like never before. He will provide both the big picture and the on-the-ground practicality to help participants implement changes," said Debra L. Wentz, PhD, President and CEO of NJAMHAA.

In a workshop later in the day, Dr. Talbot will guide attendees in a deep dive into how the rapidly changing behavioral healthcare environment will impact provider organizations and elaborate on strategies for achieving long-term sustainability.

Please visit for links to details on the conference program and registration, as well as information on sponsorship, exhibiting and advertising opportunities.

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