Louisiana Department of Health Secretary Bruce D. Greenstein and Magellan Health Services Chairman and CEO René Lerer, M.D., were joined by top state officials, health care providers, family representatives and behavioral health advocates today to launch the Louisiana Behavioral Health Partnership - the state's new system to transform and enhance behavioral health care across the state.

"There is no more fitting word than 'partnership' to describe what we begin here today," Secretary Greenstein said. "This effort brings together under a single umbrella the tremendous work of the four state agencies that serve children, countless nonprofit and local government organizations, behavioral health care providers, families and patient advocates along with the expertise of a nationally recognized company in Magellan to create an entirely new approach to serving people with behavioral health challenges.

"Behavioral health care has consistently been one of our state's most significant challenges. Too many have struggled with a fragmented system with complex funding streams and no coordination of care. Today, we begin to change that. This new approach puts people first and at the center, focuses on collaboration and builds a more efficient system. For too long, our state has been in at or near the bottom in outcomes but in the top 25 percent in how much we invest. This new system is about making sure those scarce tax dollars are best used to improve outcomes."

The Partnership was developed to improve coordination of behavioral health services for 50,000 youth and about 100,000 adults with serious mental illness and/or addictive disorders who are uninsured or served through Medicaid, and to better leverage state general fund dollars to enhance and expand services for those in need.

"We are honored to bring our clinical expertise to help build a stronger, innovative and more efficient behavioral health system for the state of Louisiana," said René Lerer, M.D., chairman and CEO of Magellan Health Services. "By involving the community and strengthening the network of those who serve children, youth and adults with mental illness and addiction, our partners in Louisiana have already shown great foresight and an understanding of what it will take to improve the coordination of care and drive improved health outcomes for these individuals.  Magellan is committed to the success of the Louisiana Behavioral Health Partnership, and we look forward to implementing the industry-leading behavioral health programs and solutions that have proven effective in the other communities that Magellan serves nationwide."

The Partnership also includes the Coordinated System of Care (CSoC), which was created by Gov. Bobby Jindal to coordinate services for children with highly complex behavioral health needs who are already in or most at-risk of being in out-of-home-placements, aligns the services of LDH, the Department of Children and Family Services, the Department of Education and the Office of Juvenile Justice. The System, which will eventually serve 2,400 of the state's children with the most severe behavioral health challenges, is overseen by a governance board made up of family representatives, advocates, a youth representative and representatives of each agency.

"Reducing out-of-home placements for children in need of services is of the utmost importance, as children and families are best served in their homes where they can remain close to their own extended support structure, schools and community.  In this way, CSoC will make the most of available resources and expertise among the agencies in the system with the priority of keeping children and families safe and keeping families together," said Ruth Johnson, secretary of the Department of Children and Family Services.

"The Coordinated System of Care offers a new approach for providing services that meet the individual needs of students who struggle with significant behavioral health challenges," State Superintendent of Education John White said.  "Through this collaboration, we can help schools better provide for both the emotional and academic needs of our at-risk students, and thus improve their learning outcomes."

"The Office of Juvenile Justice is very pleased to be a part of this important partnership," said OJJ Deputy Secretary Dr. Mary L. Livers. "We anticipate that implementation of CSoC will mean that fewer youth will become involved with the juvenile justice system.  With this initiative, an expanded array of interventions with behavioral health services will be put into place at the earliest point possible, before a youth becomes involved in criminal activity.  This alone will allow the state of Louisiana to experience financial savings and create societal changes that will benefit our citizens for generations to come.  This important collaboration with Louisiana's other child-serving agencies will allow us to work strategically together to reach our mutual goal of improved outcomes and well-being for Louisiana's children."  

"I want to empower Louisiana families to have a voice and a choice. I know from my own experience what it means to navigate a system that feels like it's working against you instead of with you. Families need to be empowered and we can achieve that when we, as other families with similar experiences, are right there with them. We can explain and support them to better understand their options while empowering them to make their choices. Families are taking ownership of this process, and it's a beautiful thing. The Coordinated System of Care is allowing us to do this. This is real and it's deep change," said Jamie Tindle, Executive Director of Families Helping Families of Greater Baton Rouge.

Last year, the state selected Magellan to serve as the Statewide Management Organization (SMO) responsible for managing behavioral health services for all eligible youth and adults in the Partnership and the Coordinated System of Care.

As the SMO, Magellan is responsible for establishing a network of providers and coordinating services for all eligible members to ensure optimal health outcomes. The company will manage claims for eligible youth and is at risk for adult service provision, for which the company is paid by the state on a per-member, per-month basis. Magellan has spent the past several months establishing a strong network of behavioral health care providers across the state. The company has established offices in Baton Rouge and Shreveport and has employed more than 200 Louisianans to carry out its mission of helping the state improve and coordinate behavioral health services. Magellan is also working with the state's five BAYOU HEALTH plans to ensure a seamless coordination of care between physical and behavioral health. 

As one of many efforts to engage the community and provide transparency, Magellan is forming a Governance Board that will include six Louisiana community representatives and six Magellan representatives.  This board will have shared decision-making authority to shape the vision, strategy and oversight of Louisiana's behavioral health system, in coordination with the Partnership and CSoC.

Consumers, providers and other interested community members can learn more about Magellan's role in the  Partnership at www.MagellanofLouisiana.com. On this site, consumers can download a copy of the member handbook, search for a provider and find other helpful information and resources for accessing care. Providers will find training programs and guidelines for working with Magellan, a provider handbook and a customized website where they can submit and check claims and payments. The site also provides the latest updates on training sessions and community events, as well as a library of resources pertaining to mental health and wellness.

"At Magellan Health Services in Louisiana, we recognize that behavioral health services don't exist in a vacuum. To be truly effective, all of the stakeholders must work together, from consumers to providers, community partners, state government and its various departments," said Paul Dykes, CEO of Magellan Health Services in Louisiana. "Although we are still in the early stages of implementing this integrated system of care, I'm encouraged by the progress we've made, thus far, and the support from community members who see the possibilities that lie ahead.  This is an opportunity to transform Louisiana's behavioral health system into a nationally-recognized model of excellence."

"We have spent the past several years at Metropolitan moving our behavioral health system toward a comprehensive community-based approach. The Partnership now provides us with the push forward that has been needed to expand our care options and reach more people more effectively than ever before," said Judge Calvin Johnson, Executive Director of the Metropolitan Human Services District. "I've spoken with colleagues in other states and, in some cases, they have seen a two-fold increase in the care they can provide simply because of the coordination introduced through managing behavioral health services. With the partnerships being established between private providers, local governing entities, various state agencies and Magellan, we fully expect to see the same kind of results here in Louisiana and are excited to be a part of this transformation."

To help the community and providers understand the changes that will take place under this new system of care, Magellan has hosted six community forums, with plans for several more in the coming weeks.  Currently, three forums are scheduled: March 1 in Houma, March 5 in Hammond, and March 6 in New Orleans. For more information about these and other events hosted by Magellan, click on the Community Forums link under "About Magellan of Louisiana" at www.MagellanOfLouisiana.com.

More information on the Louisiana Behavioral Health Partnership and Coordinated System of Care can be found on http://www.lbhp.dhh.la.gov.

About Magellan Health Services: Headquartered in Avon, Conn., Magellan Health Services Inc. is a leading specialty health care management organization with expertise in managing behavioral health, radiology and specialty pharmaceuticals, as well as public sector pharmacy benefits programs. Magellan delivers innovative solutions to improve quality outcomes and optimize the cost of care for those we serve.  Magellan's customers include health plans, employers and government agencies, serving approximately 31.1 million members in our behavioral health business, 15.6 million members in our radiology benefits management segment, and 6 million members in our medical pharmacy management product.  In addition, the specialty pharmaceutical segment serves 41 health plans and several pharmaceutical manufacturers and state Medicaid programs.  The company's Medicaid Administration segment serves 25 states and the District of Columbia.  For more information, visit www.MagellanHealth.com.

The Louisiana Department of Health strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state citizens. To learn more about LDH, visit http://www.dhh.louisiana.gov. For up-to-date health information, news and emergency updates, follow LDH's blog, Twitter account and Facebook.