238128 On the edge of opportunity: A review of the public behavioral health care system in rural Arizona

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 1:10 PM

Lynda Bergsma, PhD , Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
Renee Fullerton, MPH Candidate , Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
Betty King, MPH , Consultant, Tucson, AZ
Jennifer Peters , Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
A 2008 National Rural Health Association Policy Paper stated that, “Leadership is critically needed to develop comprehensive policies that: 1) adequately account for rural realities regarding access to behavioral health care, 2) do not result in smaller, under-resourced versions of urban programs, and 3) do not perpetuate the tendency to seek single policy solutions to the panoply of issues that affect the provision of quality behavioral health for America's rural residents.” In response, the Arizona Rural Health Office began a review the status of rural behavioral health care in the state. The first phase – A Review of the Public Behavioral Health Care System in Rural Arizona – represents a case study of behavioral health care services currently available to rural residents who qualify for public funding. The study methodology combined interviews with key informants, a focus group with rural behavioral health providers, extensive review of online documents, data analysis, and report preparation including review by key informants and others. The resulting 45-page report documents ways that the rural Arizona public behavioral health care system is working well and where there are challenges and opportunities for improvement, including the following recommendation themes: - Rural Behavioral Health Care Enrollment Penetration Rates - Integration of Behavioral and Physical Health - Rural Behavioral Health Workforce Issues - Contract Transfer/Management Issues - Continuing State Budget Reductions - Prevention Coordination - Evaluation of Rural Prevention Programs - Lack of Behavioral Health Residential Treatment Facilities - Collaboration to Improve Rural Behavioral Health

Learning Areas:
Administration, management, leadership
Advocacy for health and health education
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Participants will be able to: 1) discuss reasons why it is important for states to assess rural behavioral health care services and develop policies to realistically address the needs of rural residents, 2) describe a qualitative, case-study methodology for assessing rural behavioral health services in a state, and 3) identify practical and political lessons learned from conducting such an assessment.

Keywords: Rural Mental Health Services, Public Mental Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I serve as the director of the Arizona State Office of Rural Health that has a mandate to improve health and health care services for rural residents of Arizona.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

See more of: Public mental health reform
See more of: Mental Health