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NYU Research Study Confirms Social Interventions Dramatically Reduce Medicaid Costs of People with Serious Mental Illness
May 9, 2017 According to the World Health Organization (WHO), people living with serious mental illness have a life expectancy 10-25 years less than the general population. In recent years, integrated healthcare, which combines psychiatric and primary care, has emerged as the treatment standard. However, a recent study entitled Project to Evaluate the Impact of Fountain House Programs on Medicaid Utilization and Expenditures demonstrates that for people with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, who face barriers of stigma and social isolation, a vital third element of social interventions is needed. The research from the Health Evaluation and Analytics Lab (HEAL) at New York University shows that high utilizers of Medicaid services have a 21% decrease in total cost of care after enrolling in NYC-based Fountain House.
“The findings have broad implications for social programs that offer environmental approaches to prevention and well-being services,” states the report’s author Dr. James Knickman, the Robert Derzon Chair in Health and Public Affairs, NYU School of Medicine’s Department of Population Health and NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. “As the national conversation around Medicaid continues, perhaps we should ask if we are spending too much energy and money on formal care management when replicating models such as Fountain House could provide real solutions. Fountain House in essence integrates care management with a broad range of supportive services.”
Fountain House’s Comprehensive Community System of Care represents the next frontier – “Beyond Integrated Healthcare” – delivering medical, psychiatric and social interventions exclusively to people with the most serious forms of the illness. At Fountain House’s Sidney R. Baer, Jr. Center, the first integrated health home in the US for people with serious mental illness, patients receive primary and psychiatric care. Within walking distance from the Baer Center, Fountain House’s non-clinical, strength-based clubhouse empowers people with serious mental illness to form meaningful peer relationships, return to school and work, obtain housing and participate in wellness activities that improve and extend their lives.
“If you’re a person living with serious mental illness it is likely you are socially isolated. The stigma you deal with on a daily basis probably makes it hard to just ‘get out and go for a run.’ Chances are you also can’t afford to go to the gym. So, unless you are part of a community like Fountain House that reinforces healthy behaviors in a supportive, stigma-free environment, your doctor’s advice to lose weight and get fit can seem impossible,” comments Dr. Ralph Aquila, Medical Director of Fountain House and the Sidney R. Baer Jr. Center.
The report, Project to Evaluate the Impact of Fountain House Programs on Medicaid Utilization and Expenditures, is available on the Fountain House website www.fountainhouse.org.
ABOUT FOUNTAIN HOUSE
Since 1948, NYC-based Fountain House, recipient of the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, has empowered people with serious mental illness to live and thrive in society.
Each year, over 1,600 members come to Fountain House to contribute their talents, learn new skills, access opportunities and forge new friendships.
Fountain House has inspired the creation of hundreds of similar programs in 34 countries that serve more than 100,000 people annually.