CONTACT: Jenna McPhee
BOSTON — August 25, 2014 — Identifying and finding help for mental health and substance abuse problems can sometimes be challenging. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA) makes available numerous resources to assist members in getting the treatment they need.
"Our focus is always on assuring timely access to quality care that makes a difference in people's lives," said Dr. John Fallon, Chief Physician Executive and Senior Vice President of BCBSMA. "It's time for a broad, community conversation about the importance of behavioral health and its overall impact on health and wellness. One of the first - and most important steps - we must take as a society is to overcome the stigma still associated with mental illness and substance abuse so that people who need care are not afraid to seek it."
Recognizing and Coping with Behavioral Health Issues
Behavioral health is as essential to a person's overall well-being as ones physical health. Many might be surprised to know that mental health conditions are more common than one might think - depression, substance abuse, stress and anxiety - just to name a few. About 42.5 million American adults annually (roughly 18 percent of all U.S. adults) suffer from some form of behavioral or mental health disorder according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
"Life can be challenging at times," said Dr. Ken Duckworth, Medical Director for Behavioral Health at BCBSMA. "People cope very differently with obstacles - often impacting their mental health. One of our highest priorities at Blue Cross is the health and wellbeing of our members which is why we have a comprehensive and integrated Behavioral Health Program and are introducing new tools to support our members through their entire continuum of care."
New BCBSMA Behavioral Health Programs and Initiatives:
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation Programs and Initiatives:
"The future success of continuing to improving care, while keeping care affordable, depends in large part on the very important integration of medical care and behavioral health – something we've long been focused on," continued Dr. Fallon. "Care that is better coordinated and integrated will lead to a more patient-centered and successful health care system as we've seen with our Alternative Quality Contract (AQC). Physicians within our AQC network screen patients for depression and adherence to antidepressant medications – helping to foster a total continuum of care."
About Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (www.bluecrossma.com) is a community-focused, tax-paying, not-for-profit health plan headquartered in Boston. We are the trusted health plan for more than 30,000 Massachusetts employers and are committed to working with others in a spirit of shared responsibility to make quality health care affordable. Consistent with our corporate promise to always put our 2.8 million members first, we are rated among the nation's best health plans for member satisfaction and quality. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn.