Health and Family Services Cabinet
DIVERTS Enhances Services for Mentally Ill
CHFS, NAMI Address Ways to Improve Services
The Cabinet for Health and Family Services is working collaboratively with the state chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to develop a plan for enhanced services for Kentucky’s mental health patients.
Specifically, efforts are being focused on the Direct Intervention: Vital Early Responsive Treatment System (DIVERTS), which is intended to encompass a complete service array focusing on early intervention and recovery and should decrease state psychiatric hospital admissions for individuals with mental illness.
“The Cabinet for Health and Family Services is committed to improving the lives of those diagnosed with mental illness, from enhancing state facilities to providing more step-down services so that hospital stays can be shortened or avoided,” said William Hacker, M.D., acting undersecretary for health. “The DIVERTS plan lays the groundwork for developing these services.”
The plan stresses programs and solutions using flexible funding from KyHealth Choices to enhance or create services designed to increase early intervention strategies and divert adults in acute need from hospital admissions and readmissions. Some of the efforts on which DIVERTS is focused include:
· Redefining and improving case management
· Increasing wraparound services, such as transportation
· Improving access to immediate acute care
· Strengthening intensive outpatient services
· Creating “step-down” services to shorten hospital stays and potential re-admissions
DIVERTS also focuses on crisis stabilization; new funding for psychiatric hospitals; providing more general fund money in phases to state MHMR facilities; and developing long-term solutions for problems with integrated care.
“This program will dramatically alter the face of medical care for many Kentuckians,” said CHFS Secretary Mark D. Birdwhistell. “We will continue to build a continuum of care for the mentally ill and work collaboratively with NAMI and other stakeholders to ensure that we are providing the best and most effective services and treatment.”
A large portion of the DIVERTS plan is focused on using flexible funding from KyHealth Choices; however, additional allocations from the Department for Mental Health and Mental Retardation Services will be integrated into the model as well.