Technical Assistance

RHI worked with selected hospitals to:

  • Identify a target population
  • Coordinate a community-wide strategic planning workshop, in which RHI facilitates
  • Define goals and set measures

Each hospital received ongoing individual technical assistance calls with RHI to support the implementation of the strategic plan. RHI hosted quarterly peer-sharing calls for all selected hospitals to share successes, discuss solutions and best practices, and coordinate quarterly educational webinars based on hospitals' technical assistance needs.

Kick-off Workshop

Hospitals were notified by email on their selection for the IBH Program. Hospitals that were not selected at the time were also notified and encouraged to apply in the next application cycle. 

All funded hospitals attended a one-day kick-off event. The goal of the day was to inspire community partnerships for integrating behavioral health. Workshop objectives included:

  1. Identify a target population and partners to address behavioral health
  2. Learn the value proposition of collaborating towards integrated behavioral health
  3. Construct communication strategies for addressing behavioral health

The workshop was organized to be collaborative, interactive, experiential, educational and inspirational.

Community Planning Events

RHI staff facilitated a one-day community planning event in each selected hospital community. The objective of the visit was two-fold:

  1. Determine how to best work towards meeting the behavioral health needs of a target population
  2. Evaluate partnerships that can help to meet the behavioral health needs of the targeted population 

The hospital was encouraged to invite not only hospital staff but other stakeholders such as behavioral health providers, law enforcement, emergency services, pharmacy, faith-based organizations, schools and community members. Through a consensus-based process, that ensures every voice is heard, opportunities for improvement and strengths (what the community is already doing) are identified. Once core opportunities and strengths were identified, RHI facilitated community strategic planning. At the end of the event, the community has a strategic plan to guide their coordination of behavioral health. 

Technical Assistance Calls

RHI staff scheduled quarterly calls with each hospital team for continued individual TA as needed. Discussion focused on implementation of the community strategic plan and barriers encountered. RHI was available for additional TA calls as needed by the hospital group.

Educational Webinars

Educational webinars were held quarterly and all IBH Program hospitals were encouraged to attend. Topics included needs identified by the hospitals in their IBH Readiness Assessment such as measurement and outcomes and creating internal processes, as well as what hospitals shared on peer sharing calls as TA needs.

Peer Sharing Calls

Quarterly peer sharing calls offered participants the opportunity to learn from other communities and cohorts, while sharing ideas with each other and working through commons struggles together.

Data Collection

Each hospital team created measurable outcomes that assisted in determining the progress and success of the project. Hospitals were required to create an expected outcome for each of the four areas:

  • Utilization of services  (examples- Total Emergency Department (ED) visits for those with diagnosis codes determined by CAH or total referral appointments made and kept)
  • Cost of services (examples- Cost per visit or Total cost (Cost per visit x ED visits)
  • Health Outcomes (example- Increasing the number of patients screened, therefore earlier identification and decrease acute ED visits)
  • Measure of choice (examples- Total referrals, staff time due to holds in the ED)
  • Hospitals complete a Data Sheet which summarizes the expected outcomes

This project is supported by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number H54RH00023. The information, conclusions and opinions expressed in this document are those of the authors and no endorsement by FORHP, HRSA or HHS is intended or should be inferred.