BHBusiness: Mastering Essential Business Operations Offers Workforce Development Solutions

Submitted by: 12/12/2013 by Maureen Fitzgerald

SAMHSA created BHBusiness: Mastering Essential Business Operations to help behavioral health treatment providers develop strong business operations and position their organizations for growth. This series of free online learning courses also addresses many of the workforce development needs outlined in the 2012 report on workforce development published by the ATTC Network: Vital Signs: Taking the Pulse of the Addiction Treatment Profession.

Among the report’s recommendations are:

  • SUD treatment practitioners should become familiar with online learning, including how to navigate e-learning software and how to get the most out of web-based courses
  • Policymakers and other stakeholders should continue to work to educate SUD treatment facilities about the impact healthcare reform will have on the way they do business.
  • SUD treatment facilities must adopt and implement EHR systems in order to survive. Current and future SUD treatment practitioners need to have the skills to operate EHR systems in order to continue working in healthcare.

Amy McIlvaine, Educational Services Director at NIATx, has led the development of the BHBusiness courses, along with Kim Johnson, NIATx Deputy Director and ATTC Network Coordinating Office Co-Director. “We created the courses to combine the latest in distance learning technology with more traditional methods such as face-to-face meetings,” explains McIlvaine. “Along the way, we’ve been asking for feedback from participants on ways to make the online components as user-friendly as possible,” she adds.

The BHbusiness courses that will begin in early 2014 include many improvements recommended by the first round of participants. Explains McIlvaine, “Many of the participants in our first round of courses (March-September 2013) were new to distance learning technology, and we were pleased to see them get more comfortable with web-based learning as the courses progressed.”

For Kim Johnson, BHbusiness builds on earlier activities to educate SUD treatment facilities about the impact of healthcare reform on business practices. “Previous NIATx initiatives such as NIATx SI Business Practices of the Future and NIATx Partnering with New Payers have provided content and case examples that apply to the BHbusiness learning networks focused on billing systems and contract negotiations,” she says.

The BHbusiness learning network on The Meaningful Use of Healthcare Technology (HIT) offers guidance on how to overcome barriers the Vital Signs report identified to implementing EHR systems, including capital required for investment, the cost of and staff requirements for maintaining an EHR system. “Participants will also learn the benefits of forming state-wide consortiums for this purpose,” adds McIlvaine.

For more information or to apply, visit the BHBusiness website.

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