BHbusiness Plus: Free online training offers more topics and accelerated learning

Submitted by: 08/04/2014 by Maureen Fitzgerald

With full implementation of the Affordable Care Act underway, many behavioral health providers are working on making the business changes necessary to accommodate more clients and new payers. BHbusiness is a training program funded by SAMHSA that’s designed to help behavioral health executives and their teams make the necessary changes to survive and thrive in the new healthcare marketplace.

Originally launched in 2012 as BHbusiness: Mastering Essential Business Operations, the program has trained more than 1,000 providers across the country. The State Associations of Addiction Services (SAAS) leads the initiative, in partnership with NIATx, the National Council for Behavioral Health, and Advocates for Human Potential.

“Our change to BHbusiness Plus reflects the modifications we’ve made to tailor the program to the needs of behavioral health leaders,” says Kim Johnson, NIATx Deputy Director and Co-Director of the ATTC Network Coordinating Office. “People need to move faster and get more accomplished in a shorter time period, so we have adjusted the schedule to accommodate those needs,” she adds.

BHbusiness Plus features new and expanded topics such as Strategic Business Decision Making and Exploring Affiliations, Mergers, and Acquisitions, Costing Out Your Services, along with the popular and established courses in creating or improving a third-party billing system, third-party contract negotiations, and eligibility and enrollment. BHBusiness Plus also offers increased one-on-one consultation and technical assistance.  “We have made the program more focused and specific to accommodate a shortened time frame,” says Johnson.

Dr. John Bigelow, Executive Director of the Southwest Iowa Mental Health Center in Atlantic Iowa, participated in a BHBusiness Learning Network in Third-party Billing and Compliance in Spring 2014. He cites being able to use skills and knowledge acquired through BHbusiness immediately as one of the benefits of the program. Bigelow’s team was able to quickly reduce payment denials from third-party payers from 10% to 0%. Their success resulted in recognition from SAAS and NIATx with one of the 2014 Innovations in Behavioral Health Services Awards

(See related story “Award-winning provider juggles many payers, with few denials,” published in Mental Health Weekly, May 12, 2014.) 

Funded by SAMSHA, BHbusiness Plus is offered at no cost to participants.

“There is so much change happening now that will impact the ability of providers to operate in the near future—really, folks can’t afford not to participate,” says Johnson. “It is a lot of work, but the resources that SAMHSA has put toward this are amazing. Others charge a fortune for this level of technical assistance, but because of SAMHSA funding, we can offer it for free.”

Apply by August 15 as a convener (bringing together a group of providers in a learning network) or as an individual provider (joining a learning network determined for you by the BHbusiness Plus team), at Learning networks will begin in October 2014.

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