Incoming Chestnut Health Systems CEO Dave Sharar said his organization faces new challenges.
Current CEO Russ Hagen and Chief Operating Officer Alan Sender are retiring. Sharar said the way government pays for health services is in flux.
"Making sure that we have a solid Medicaid reimbursement plan that supports access here, I think, is a big challenge," said Sharar.
Sharar said state government treats substance abuse and mental health issues as separate and pay for those services separately. He said federal moves toward integration of care need to be copied on the state level to break down the silos.
"Our challenge now is to bring together primary health, substance abuse treatment, different mental health services, and certainly housing," said Sharar.
There has been a movement toward integrated healthcare nationally. Hospitals and the federal government have begun to embrace the idea that preventive care saves money over the course of a person's life, compared to just treating people when they get sick.
Sharar said there is still a State Department of Mental Health and a separate Department of Alcohol and Substance Abuse. He said those functions need to connect within the Department of Human Services and work hand in hand in a way that is not happening now.
Sharar is the author of more than 75 articles and studies related to employee assistance, managed care and behavioral health services.
Chestnut now operates in more than 150 countries.
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