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State Residential Treatment for Behavioral Health Conditions: Regulation and Policy Environmental Scan

January 23, 2020

A new report by the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) on state regulation of Residential Treatment programs was prepared for ASPE by Truven/IBM. NRI and NASADAD also worked to identify state regulations and facilitated state review and verification of the information summarized for the ASPE report.

The objective of this environmental scan is to summarize the peer-reviewed and grey literature on oversight of residential care for mental health and substance use care in the United States, excluding inpatient hospital care. Read the new Environmental Scan


NRI’s Resources Instrumental in Supporting Coordinated Specialty Care Programs for First Episode Psychosis

January 9, 2020

A recent article about Washington State's Early Psychosis Program highlights services received through a coordinated specialty care (CSC) program called New Journeys. NRI has produced numerous resources designed to help states implement and fund coordinated specialty care programs. Additionally, these resources help CSC programs adhere to best practices and to be culturally competent serving a diverse client base. You can access these resources on our website


NRI/SMI Adviser Survey on Technical Assistance Needed by State Mental Health Agency Medical Directors, State Psychiatric Hospitals, and and Coordinated Specialty Care Providers

December 19, 2019

NRI and NASMHPD are again working with the American Psychiatric Association’s SMI Adviser, also referred to as the Clinical Support System for Serious Mental Illness (CSS-SMI). This SAMHSA-funded center supports mental health providers to promote person-centered treatment and recovery supports to individuals with SMI. A major task that we are working on with the APA to support this endeavor is an assessment of state mental health systems and their providers to understand their needs regarding how to improve clinical services for individuals with SMI.

To help us determine what types of assistance are most needed in the implementation of Evidence-Based Practices and Clinical Practice Guidelines, NRI is distributing a survey to State Medical Directors, State Hospital Administrators, and CSC Program Leads in each of the states. This 10-to-15-minute survey will help the APA and SAMHSA better understand what types of clinical consultations, training, and other TA would be especially helpful to these audiences. Information from these surveys will be used to help inform the TA activities provided under the CSS-SMI initiative to better meet the needs of behavioral health providers and clinicians. NRI is requesting that these surveys be completed by Friday, December 20th. If you feel you should have received an invitation to participate in this survey but did not, or if you have any questions related to this initiative, please contact Kristin Neylon.


Research Report Finds Widening Disparities in Network Use and Provider Reimbursement for Individuals with Mental Health and SUD

December 5, 2019

A recent report titled, “Addiction and mental health vs. physical health: Widening disparities in network use and provider reimbursement” showed that there are increasing disparities in out-of-network utilization rates for addiction and mental healthcare services compared to medical and surgical services for inpatient, outpatient, and professional office-based settings.

In this article by Kaiser Health News, Dr. Henry Harbin, an adviser to the Bowman Family Foundation, which commissioned the report comments on the reports’ findings. Dr. Harbin was the former CEO of Magellan Health, a managed behavioral health care company. Read the report.


NRI Welcomes New Senior Director of Consulting and Research

November 21, 2019

NRI welcomes Dr. Jennifer Bronson as our new Senior Director of Consulting and Research. Dr. Bronson has 15 years of experience in health research and evaluation, with a primary focus on behavioral health, disabilities, HIV/AIDS, maternal health and children’s exposure to violence/trauma. Her criminal justice knowledge comes from experience working in a reentry services center and at the Department of Justice as a correctional health statistician. She has a PhD in Medical Sociology from Howard University. Please join us in welcoming her.


SAMHSA Releases Publication on First-Episode Psychosis and Co-Occurring Substance Use Disorders

November 7, 2019

NRI's Board President Dr. David Shern and Senior Director, Ted Lutterman served as members of the expert panel.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announced the release of a new publication titled, “First-Episode Psychosis and Co-Occurring Substance Use Disorders.” The evidence-based resource notes that young adults who experience a first-episode psychosis along with a substance use disorder (SUD) are at high risk for recurring episodes of psychosis, later physical health problems, and have a greater likelihood of future disability. Read more.


New, Unique Report: Functionality and Usability of Various Electronic Health Record Systems: State Psychiatric Hospitals and Systems

October 24, 2019

Electronic Health Record (EHR) technology varies not only by vendor but also by implementation. In this latest report, Lucille Schacht PhD, CPHQ, NRI’s Senior Director Performance and Quality Improvement, discusses the components that have been implemented and the perceived usability of the EHR system. Learn more.


NASMHPD Annual Meeting

September 19, 2019

The NASMHPD Annual 2019 Meeting, which was held in conjunction with the International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership (IIMHL) and the International Initiative for Disability Leadership (IIDL) Leadership Exchange Network meeting took place from September 11-14 in Washington, D.C. NRI staff and board members participated in panels and presentations.

Below are links to the presentations and related materials:


Mental Health Metrics Match

September 19, 2019

The NRI-sponsored Mental Health Metrics Match took place September 9th and 10th as part of the IIMHL/IIDL meeting. This Match allowed participants from Australia, Canada, England, Ireland, New Zealand, Scotland, United States and Wales to share their newest and most effective uses of data to understand systems, monitor accountability, and drive innovation.

NRI's Executive Director and CEO, Tim Knettler and Senior Director of Government & Commercial Research, Ted Lutterman presented about United States/State Mental Health Agencies & Systems.


The Use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) by State Behavioral Health Authorities (SBHAs)

August 22, 2019

On September 5 at 2PM EST, the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors Research Institute (NRI) and the National Council for Behavioral Health will present a demonstration of the uses of Geographic information systems (GIS) for behavioral health pursued by Washington State and Oklahoma.Register now.

NIMH Reddit “Ask Me Anything” with Dr. Jane Pearson – Suicide Prevention

August 22, 2019

In recognition of National Suicide Prevention Month in September, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is participating in a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) event on Thursday, September 5, 2019. NIMH's suicide prevention expert, Dr. Jane Pearson will answer questions from the public about how NIMH-supported research is helping save lives and reduce the rising suicide rate.

Learn more about participating in this discussion.


NRI Report About Forensic Patients in State Psychiatric Hospitals Published in CNS Spectrums

August 8, 2019

We’re pleased to announced that an NRI research article, Forensic Patients in State Psychiatric Hospitals: 1999-2016 has been published in the peer-reviewed journal, CNS Spectrums Read more.

Wraparound Services Increase Benefits of Mental Health Courts, Study Finds

August 8, 2019

Debra A. Pinals, MD, Medical Director of Behavioral Health and Forensic Programs for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and a member of NRI's Mental Health/Criminal Justice Board Committee was lead author on a pilot study published in Psychiatric Services in Advance. The study suggests that a program that offers integrated behavioral-health and criminal-justice services to individuals who are participating in mental health courts may help reduce recidivism and promote recovery among participants, Read more.


Study Finds Early Discharge from a State Psychiatric Hospital is the Most Reliable Predictor of Readmission within 30 Days

July 25, 2019

A study published in the July-August issue of the Journal for Health Care Quality finds that length of stay in a state psychiatric hospital is the strongest predictor of re-hospitalization within 30 days. An increase in the length of stay from 31 to 89 days was found by the NASMHPD Research Institute (NRI)’s Principal Biostatistician Glorimar Ortiz in a study funded by NRI to be associated with a 25 percent reduction in the proportion of discharges with rapid readmission. Read more.


Harnessing The Power Of Analytics To Create Innovative Solutions For Complex Consumers

July 25, 2019

On June 5, 2019, at the 2019 OPEN MINDS Strategy & Innovation Institute, Lynda M. Zeller, Senior Program Officer, Behavioral Health, Michigan Health Endowment Fund and Vice President of the NRI Board of Directors reviewed the big policy changes and industry trends shaping the market; and discussed how provider organizations can utilize data analytics to build a meaningful strategy and operational practices; and offered her perspective on the future of care delivery and coordination for the complex consumer market. Her presentation slides are available.


Creating Quality, New Journal Issue from NRI Focused on Electronic Health Records

July 11, 2019

NRI division of performance and quality improvement initiates a new journal, Creating Quality. The inaugural issue, April 2019, focuses on electronic health record technology and use for performance measurement in psychiatric hospitals. Three articles from NRI researcher delve into the status of using Electronic Health Records (EHR) for transitions of care and where interoperability fits in this picture, using public use files from CMS; plans for changing EHR technology in state psychiatric hospitals based on a survey conducted by NRI with the NASMHPD Medical Directors Council; and the fundamental differences between abstraction and extraction of medical records to get to the nuggets that are used for performance measures.

The importance of clinicians’ involvement in building and refining systems that are the evidence of their work cannot be understated. It is re-connecting the data bytes to the context that is  the vital step needed to inform the quality of care and engage the clinical staff in quality improvement. Read the full journal.


Implementation Status of Electronic Health Record (EHR) Systems in State Psychiatric Hospitals

June 27, 2019


Electronic health records continue to be a driver for operational change at providers. The uptake of EHRs at state psychiatric hospitals was recently investigated by NRI researchers. Forty-one states have an EHR in their state operated psychiatric hospitals, although no state has an EHR that was all-inclusive in terms of components. A consumer report based on a survey of all states is available now on the NRI website. Read the full report.