BLOG — Behavioral Health: Community Health Plans and COVID-19

By Dan Lemle

The ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis is greatly impacting all parts of life, from where we learn and work to how we interact with others. With this can come added stress and anxiety and an increased pressure on maintaining one’s mental health.

The Alliance of Community Health Plans’ (ACHP) nonprofit, community-based health organizations and their provider partners are innovating to expand access to mental and behavioral health services. Many are using flexible platforms, including Zoom, Facebook and Skype to expand telehealth access and reach more individuals.

  • HealthPartners is using Google Duo to significantly expand video access to mental health services, offering crisis assessments and clinical services in emergency departments and inpatient hospitals as well as addiction treatment services
  • Intermountain Healthcare launched a emotional health hotline offering guidance, tools and referrals 7 days a week – accessible to all community members at no cost
  • UPMC’s recently launched free self-care app offers evidence-based cognitive behavioral therapy techniques for stress management, anxiety, depression and more. Brain Manager has garnered more than 3,000 users since it launched in early April
  • CDPHP’s Behavioral Health Access Center offers a crisis hotline, personal assistance, telephone and video visits with clinicians and online recovery/support resources and more for coping with mental health and addiction needs
  • Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin (GHC-SCW) is utilizing a variety of technology platforms to continue integrating behavioral health services into primary care. Quick innovating allows clinicians to do “virtual hand-offs” to ensure the continuation of team-based care

Additionally, members are deploying innovations in treatmentenhanced telehealth options and personal protective equipment developments for frontline medical workers.

Individuals and families can benefit from access to behavioral health resources now more than ever. ACHP member companies and their provider partners strive to meet this demand to help ensure the health and wellbeing of the communities they serve.

Additional information on efforts of ACHP plans and their affiliated systems during this public health crisis is available here.