Analytics Facilitate $1M Grant Award to Improve Access to Behavioral Health Crisis Stabilization

August 19, 2021

Article Summary


Nearly 25 percent of adults in the state of Washington have behavioral health conditions. Many of these adults are unable to receive adequate treatment. MultiCare Health System (MultiCare), a non-profit healthcare organization in Washington, was experiencing a high number of patients coming to its emergency departments (EDs) for behavioral health needs, depleting its limited ED resources and impeding the quality of patient care. MultiCare sought a grant to help expand its behavioral healthcare and ease the strain on its ED services. The organization leveraged its analytics platform to obtain the necessary data to support the grant application.

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Featured Outcomes
  • $1M grant awarded for renovation to create a behavioral health crisis stabilization unit.

BEHAVIORAL HEALTH CRISES STRAINS LIMITED ED CAPACITY

Behavioral health conditions afflict 23.4 percent of adults in the state of Washington (3.5 percent higher than the national average), of which 7.9 percent report unmet treatment needs within the past year (1.7 percent higher than the national average).1 In the U.S., 4.9 million people in behavioral health crises seek care in the ED annually.2 In Eastern Washington, behavioral health conditions accounted for 25 percent of hospital admissions and nearly nine percent of ED visits,3 indicating a need for behavioral health crisis stabilization in the area.

SECURING GRANT FUNDS TO EXPAND BEHAVIORAL HEALTH SERVICES

People with unmet behavioral health needs were seeking care in MultiCare’s EDs. Overreliance on EDs to provide stabilization for a behavioral health crisis exhausted limited resources, resulting in sub-optimal care and follow-up treatment—in MultiCare’s Deaconess ED as many as 15 patients a day required extended ED care while experiencing a behavioral health crisis. MultiCare plans to improve the care provided to these patients and establish a behavioral health crisis stabilization unit—a dedicated care area to serve those with immediate behavioral health needs—providing an alternative to EDs, hospitals, and jails.

Service expansion requires significant capital. The MultiCare Foundation identified a grant source to secure funds to help expand services, but it lacked access to the high-quality, population-specific data necessary to make a compelling case that it should receive the grant funding. It was challenging to obtain data for the entire Inland Northwest catchment area, which includes 12,981 square miles of five largely rural counties, because data were buried in the EHR. The organization needed geographic data to illustrate the breadth of its service area and data that demonstrated the high volume of patients with behavioral health treatment needs. Unfortunately, the organization was unable to obtain these data from the EHR in a timely manner.

MultiCare had less than two months to submit the grant-funding request. The organization needed a solution that would help it quickly gather data needed to demonstrate why it should be awarded grant funds to expand behavioral health crisis stabilization services. 

DATA SUPPORTS BUSINESS CASE FOR BEHAVIORAL HEALTH CRISIS STABILIZATION UNIT

MultiCare utilizes the Health Catalyst® Data Operating System (DOS™) platform and Self-Service Analytics Suite, including the Pop Analyzer™ analytics application. Behavioral health leaders identified that the organization could leverage the Pop Analyzer application to quickly obtain high-quality data it could trust, and could use the data to support the grant application and establish the business case and community need for a behavioral health crisis stabilization unit.

Through rapid ad hoc analysis capabilities, the analytics application allows users to define populations quickly without using sophisticated or customized SQL coding. Reusable population definitions can be created for use in analytics initiatives in other applications, including de-identified population-level data.

MultiCare used the analytics application to harvest the data required for a compelling grant application, including ED utilization, patients’ originating zip code, and distance-to-care data, which allowed the organization to effectively and accurately identify the number of people who could benefit from behavioral health crisis stabilization services. MultiCare also used the analytics application to visualize ED arrival patterns, obtain patients’ chief complaints and secondary diagnoses, and highlight the prolonged length of stay for patients with behavioral health needs. The organization was able to use its data to communicate the frequency of ED visits for behavioral healthcare, providing a complete visualization of both behavioral health service gaps and strained ED capacity. 

MultiCare was able to demonstrate that patients seeking care in the ED ranged from children to older adults. Patients with varying severities of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and suicidal ideation arrived via foot traffic, ambulance, or law enforcement transport, with some traveling over 50 miles to receive behavioral healthcare. The data gathered accurately displayed the complexity of behavioral health needs in the region, validating the need to expand crisis stabilization services.

RESULTS

The analytics platform and application allowed MultiCare to use its data to effectively demonstrate its need for expanding behavioral health services and support its comprehensive grant funding request. MultiCare successfully obtained:

  • $1M in grant funding. The organization will use the funds to support the expansion of its behavioral health services, creating a crisis stabilization unit in the Inland Northwest Washington region.

“We hear stories about behavioral health needs and related gaps in care services. One of the best things you can do to improve behavioral health care is to equip yourself with data that demonstrates the need, supporting a business case for expanded services. Pop Analyzer enabled access to measurable data, validating the need for expanded behavioral health services within our community, contributing to our success in obtaining the $1M grant to expand crisis care in the Inland Northwest.”

Samantha Clark, MHA, Executive Director, Strategy & Business Development, MultiCare Behavioral Health Network

WHAT’S NEXT

MultiCare continues to leverage its powerful analytics to identify care gaps, address community needs, and develop the behavioral health services its patients need.

REFERENCES

  1. Mental Health and Substance Use State Facts Sheet. (n.d.). Kff.org. Retrieved from https://www.kff.org/statedata/mental-health-and-substance-use-state-fact-sheets/washington/
  2. QuickStats: Emergency Department Visit Rates Related to Mental Health Disorders, by Age Group and Sex — National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, United States, 2016–2018. (2020). Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 69:1838. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6948a13.htm?s_cid=mm6948a13_w
  3. Analytics Research & Measurement (ARM) Dashboard Suite. (2021). Washington State Health Authority. Retrieved from https://hca-tableau.watech.wa.gov/t/51/views/AIMDashboardSuite/DSMain?:isGuestRedirectFromVizportal=y&:embed=y

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