ATLANTA – A new pilot initiative that aims to better integrate Georgia’s mental health and addictive disease services will begin late next year, the state agency responsible for those programs announced Thursday. The Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) has been meeting with providers across the state, including the leadership and board members of Georgia’s Community Service Boards, to discuss bringing the state’s many services together to provide greater access and a better quality of care. Based on feedback from those meetings, DBHDD will begin its pilot in the agency’s Region 1, which consists of thirty-one counties in North Georgia.
“Today we have one organization that operates our crisis and access phone line, another that authorizes services, and still another that pays for them,” noted DBHDD Commissioner Frank E. Shelp, MD, MPH. “By consolidating those functions into one organization, we can provide a better level of care and do so more efficiently.”
The pilot for the new integrated behavioral health model will take place only in Region 1, will include only mental health and addictive disease services, and will be responsible for delivering only those services paid for by state funds, not those funded by Medicaid. The department has selected Mercer Government Human Services to help it develop the Request for Proposal that will define the responsibilities of the new organization and exactly which services it will oversee.
“Our goal is to have a system of care that’s more responsive, flexible, and accountable,” said Charles Fetner, Regional Coordinator for DBHDD Region 1. “With its new services and strong providers, Region 1 is ready to lead the way.”