Projects & Impact

AHP has built its business on applying best practices, many of which we have helped to shape, and real-world, hands-on knowledge to improving systems and business practices for our clients.

In all of the work that we do, we are guided by our mission to improve health and human services systems of care and business operations to help organizations and individuals reach their full potential.

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Benchmarks for an Optimal Compensation Strategy

A state department of mental health has engaged AHP to deliver research and consulting services to improve business operations and impact systems of care through recruiting and retaining a high performance professional services workforce. AHP will provide guidelines for an optimal compensation and workforce development strategy to enable contracted provider agencies to effectively recruit and retain highly qualified behavioral health professionals to provide psychiatric services at inpatient and outpatient facilities statewide. Services include those provided to patients and clients by psychiatrists, other physicians, psychologists, and additional professional staff including “doctors on call” to ensure that a psychiatrist is onsite 24 hours per day, seven days per week, 365 days per year at every inpatient site.

AHP will deliver compensation guidelines to include salary ranges, benefit packages, brief job descriptions, and workload estimates for contracted staff. AHP will utilize proprietary salary, benchmarking, and workforce planning data spanning 100 health care organizations in 38 states to develop selected data to benchmark salaries, benefits, brief job descriptions, and patient workload for psychiatrists and psychologists in a number of peer states.

Building a Behavioral Health Network with Rural Providers

Facing evolving state and federal requirements for clinical integration, this group of rural behavioral health providers sought AHP’s help to assess their capabilities and begin to build a provider network to better serve their region. Recognizing the competitive risk of more dominant health systems, these smaller providers have banded together and are collaborating with AHP to strengthen their administrative capacity and efficiency and deliver care more effectively. AHP is conducting a readiness assessment of each provider’s capabilities for forming a provider network model with an analysis of strengths and weaknesses, along with recommendations for the most suitable network model to pursue. In addition, AHP is developing a business planning process with a blueprint for implementation for the chosen model. Each organization will receive a feasibility study and business plan for establishing a shared services organization.

Developing a Managed Service Organization for an Intellectual/Developmental Disability Services Provider Association

Members of an intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD) providers association engaged AHP to help form a management service organization (MSO) in response to imminent changes in the regulatory and business environment driven by the Affordable Care Act. AHP conducted a readiness assessment and then developed an implementation plan and roadmap to guide the group of providers toward establishing the MSO to re-engineer care delivery systems and adopt integrated service solutions and new technology. The comprehensive roadmap outlined the functional processes to put in place and a set of recommendations and procedures to help launch the MSO for the providers.

Evaluation of the Moms Do Care Project, Expanding Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) for Pregnant Women with Opioid Use Disorder

AHP is the evaluator for a Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Bureau of Substance Abuse Services (BSAS) grant to expand medical and behavioral health service systems capacity to engage and retain pregnant and postpartum women in integrated medication assisted treatment (MAT) and health care, and addiction and recovery support services. Funded through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) targeted capacity expansion portfolio, The Moms Do Care Project is being implemented in two communities (one rural and one urban) and focuses on the specific needs of pregnant women with opioid use disorders. Its overarching objective is to provide recovering mothers with increased access to MAT and with individualized services that support sustained recovery, choices about continuing medication, and efforts to maintain custody or contact with their children.

Expected outcomes include increased access and engagement in MAT concurrent with pre-and post-natal care; reduced illicit drug use; and improved health, recovery, and functioning status at the individual level. Systems level outcomes include an increased number of waivered buprenorphine prescribers; increased workforce understanding of opioid dependency in women specific to the needs of pregnant women; reduced negative attitudes of this population among medical providers; and improved integration of primary care and behavioral health services. AHP will assess outcomes through client interviews at three points in time, administrative treatment data, surveys of medical providers, and onsite visits with a range of key informants.

HIV Capacity Building Initiative: Project Aspire

AHP serves as the evaluator for a Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) HIV Capacity Building Initiative (HIV CBI), Project Aspire. The goal of the grant is to prevent and reduce the onset of substance misuse and transmission of HIV/AIDS among at-risk racial/ethnic minority youth and young adults.

Equinox, a multiservice nonprofit organization, will provide evidence-based substance use disorder (SUD) and HIV/Viral Hepatitis (VH) prevention programming, onsite HIV/VH testing, and substance misuse assessment and counseling services to at-risk minority youth in Albany, NY, through its Youth Outreach Center. Peer Youth Leaders will promote engagement and co-facilitate prevention activities including the Say It Straight intervention. AHP will conduct a community needs assessment and assess program performance by documenting and measuring client outcomes and conducting a process evaluation. The needs assessment will include a review of epidemiological data, including prevalence rates, service gaps and disparities, community readiness to change, and capacity to provide SUD, HIV, and VH prevention and treatment services.

Improving Technological and Business Efficiencies for Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs)

Since 2005, AHP has helped nearly all Massachusetts FQHCs and others in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic to re-engineer key operational and clinical processes. AHP delivers value to the bottom line through evaluating and improving process mapping and workflow analysis, EHR implementation, identification of barriers and constraints, clinical and operational staff training, and system validation. AHP experts help FQHCs to integrate primary care and behavioral health, conduct strategic planning to meet the requirements of health care reform, and perform protected health information privacy and security assessments. Since 2011, AHP has assisted FQHCs in meeting the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Meaningful Use.

Increasing Community Participation Among Adults with Psychiatric Disabilities through Intentional Peer Support (IPS Study)

For the National Institute for Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (HHS), under Grant 90IF0098-01-00, AHP will conduct a study examining the comparative effectiveness of Intentional Peer Support (IPS) in improving community living and participation for adults with psychiatric disabilities. IPS is a peer-developed, theoretically based, manualized approach that is unique in conceptualizing peer support as a relationship-based learning process in the context of personal growth and community-building. The study will compare the outcomes of IPS with those of standard peer support services on dimensions including self-esteem, self-discrimination, social connectedness, community participation, and quality of life.

Increasing Financial Stability and Productivity for an Intellectual/Developmental Disability Service Provider

AHP helped to assess and improve key business operations for The Resource Center, a provider of intellectual/developmental disability, primary care, dental, and mental health services in New York State that was facing financial challenges under health care reform. Over a two-year period, AHP conducted a claims analysis and a productivity study, as follows:

  • The analysis identified the causes of financial losses, gaps in the revenue management process, and opportunities for improved pricing strategies and contract negotiation processes.
  • The productivity study analyzed the clinical workflow and its impact on revenue models, revealing both the need to improve productivity and to increase patients to the practice. AHP’s recommendations from all phases of work were quickly implemented by the client. Today operations are more efficient, productive, and profitable.

National Center for Trauma-Informed Care and Alternatives to Restraint and Seclusion (NCTIC)

AHP is a subcontractor to SAMHSA’s National Center for Trauma-Informed Care and Alternatives to Restraint & Seclusion (NCTIC). A diverse team of staff and consultants, many of them trauma survivors and nationally recognized leaders, provide technical assistance (TA) and participate in developing products and materials under this contract. The National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) is the prime contractor for NCTIC.
 
NCTIC supports SAMHSA’s commitment to provide information, technical assistance, and support to increase awareness about the impact of trauma on people with mental health or substance use disorders, as well as people served by public health, education, and corrections systems.
 
A key focus of this work has been to promote alternatives to seclusion, restraint, and other coercive interventions to minimize the likelihood of re-traumatization. The use of trauma-informed approaches has therefore been incorporated into a broad range of service systems, with input from trauma survivors’ perspectives in all aspects of the contract. NCTIC is guided by the fundamental beliefs that people with personal experiences of trauma can and do recover and heal; Trauma-Informed Care is the hallmark of effective programs to promote recovery and healing through support from peers, consumers, survivors, ex-patients, and recovering persons and mentoring by providers; and leadership teams of peers and providers charting the course for the implementation of Trauma-Informed Care are essential.
  
The project has made major strides in addressing SAMHSA’s Trauma and Justice Strategic Initiative goals of creating capacity and systems change in the behavioral health and justice systems; implementing and studying trauma-informed approaches throughout health, behavioral health, and related systems; and reducing the impact of disasters on the behavioral health of individuals, families, and communities.
 
Major accomplishments of the project have included the administration of more than 130 technical assistance events in one year, reaching approximately 10,000 individuals between on-site events, webinars, virtual learning networks (VLNs), and consultation. This project was able to leverage funds with multiple organizations willing to help cover costs for presenting training and technical assistance, which resulted in our ability to present so many events, thereby increasing NCTIC’s visibility and shifting thinking in the field.
 
Specialized TA was provided in Baltimore, MD, to stakeholders from 76 different agencies following major unrest in that city after a teen died while in police custody. In addition, a training curriculum, Trauma-Informed Approach: Key Assumptions and Principles, has been developed to provide a framework for understanding trauma and its impact and prevalence, along with the key principles and implementation areas for trauma-informed approaches; and a General Adult Trauma Screening and Brief Response (GATSBR) toolkit is in development to facilitate screening for trauma in primary care.
 
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Positioning an Accountable Care Organization to Expand Behavioral Health Services

Inspira Health Network, an accountable care organization (ACO) with three medical centers and more than 100 access points, sought AHP’s help to make rapid, well-informed decisions about the best allocation of its behavioral health resources and facilities to best serve the surrounding community and deliver value to the bottom line. The goal was to research and deliver a position paper for presentation to legislative, business, and community stakeholders that would encourage support for the ACO’s proposed facility and product expansion. In a very tight timeframe, AHP conducted an assessment of the existing and future business environment, researched and defined the product line and proposed expansion, and developed a paper positioning Inspira Health Network and the benefits proposed for the community.

The Intersection of Violence Against Women and HIV/AIDS: A Cross-Training Guide for Service Providers Office of Women’s Health

AHP received a grant from the Office of Women’s Health (OWH) to research, revise, and then implement a pilot cross-training program for community domestic violence and HIV/AIDS agencies in four cities across the United States to enhance their services to vulnerable, abused women who were either infected or at risk for HIV/AIDS. By educating each agency on the subject matter of the other agency and encouraging collaboration between them, AHP’s goal was to ensure that no matter how the woman entered the system for services, whether through the domestic violence or HIV/AIDS door, both issues would be addressed. After recruiting the requisite service agencies in cities in four states, revising the five-part curriculum and developing presentations, AHP conducted web-based and onsite trainings, including joint sessions with both agencies. The project included a final report that will empower OWH to roll out a national training program.

Transitioning to a Medicaid Managed Care Model for Providers of Services to Individuals with Disabilities

AHP is supporting this provider association in its goal of establishing a long-term Medicaid managed care model for its member organizations that deliver services to individuals with physical disabilities. The managed care model will ensure care coordination between patient primary and mental health services, as well as facilitate their ability to live and work in integrated settings. In addition, the work explores network provider models to create a shared organizational infrastructure that will produce administrative and information technology efficiencies for the new managed care model. AHP is currently conducting readiness assessments and providing recommendations for best practices and models that best fit the organizations while meeting state regulatory requirements.