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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BHbusiness Plus

BHbusiness Plus is funded through a contract with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). It offers customized, virtual technical assistance and training to behavioral health executives at no cost to participants. The goal is to help behavioral health providers identify and implement customized change projects that expand their service capacity, harness new payer sources, and thrive in the changing health care environment. The program empowers participating organizations to actually make quantifiable changes, rather than just learning how to do so. It links participants into specific learning networks that focus on a specific topic of interest and provides opportunities for networking and peer support. Everyone in a learning network receives hands-on expertise and guidance to initiate, continue, and complete business operations changes.
 
Participants benefit from the following supports:
 
  • focused technical assistance that meets each organization’s business needs;
  • guidance from a dedicated coach that helps participants develop a customized change project;
  • access to a peer group of like-minded providers that empowers organizations to learn from combined experiences to grow their businesses;
  • consultation from leading subject matter experts in the field; and
  • resources designed to be meaningful to learners, providing practical action steps to meet individual challenges.
 
Related resources and publications:
 

Colorado Office of Behavioral Health Needs Assessment

The Colorado Office of Behavioral Health (OBH) selected a team led by Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) Mental Health Program to conduct a needs analysis and scan of existing and promising behavioral health models. AHP worked with the WICHE team, which included NASMHPD Research Institute (NRI), to complete 17 tasks. AHP assessed:
 
  • Olmstead v. L.C. legal decision considerations in the provision of state psychiatric beds;
  • integration of behavioral health and physical health care;
  • impact of marijuana legalization and prescription drug misuse on CO OBH service needs;
  • impact of state drug sentencing reform on CO OBH service needs; and
  • state approaches to support employment and housing for mental health consumers.
 
The work on tasks included a literature review, environmental scan, key informant interviews, focus groups, and analysis of existing state-level data. A report was prepared for each task and combined into a comprehensive report that included recommendations for Colorado’s OBH. 
 
Related resources and publication:
 

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.
 
Related resources and publications:

National Veterans Technical Assistance Center (NVTAC)

The National Veterans Technical Assistance Center (NVTAC) was a partnership among AHP, the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Veterans Employment and Training Services. Led by AHP and funded under a cooperative agreement for four years, the NVTAC supported the mission of the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program (HVRP) and its stakeholders. We assembled a cadre of experts knowledgeable about veteran homelessness, workforce development, and adult learning that included veterans committed to helping their service member colleagues.

We tapped the experience of practitioners in the field by facilitating peer-to-peer learning in our national virtual learning community; spotlighting individual grantees and their staff to inform the field and through regional face-to-face events. AHP worked with grantees and convened experts to establish 10 best-practice elements showcased on the NVTAC website and supported implementation through webinars and training.
 
Our work was responsive to our client’s needs. When Hurricane Harvey hit the Gulf Coast, we reached out to grantees with resources and established a go-to website for community recovery. When direct service staff needed to build their skills, but grantee organizations could not afford to send staff to training sites, we developed online, instructor-led courses. As more communities wanted to host veteran stand-down events and DOL sought to support these, AHP prepared materials and a website to ease the challenge of organizing an event.
 
We measured learning impacts. Following training, we not only asked if participants were satisfied, we also asked about what they learned and if their participation led to changes in their behavior, practice, or policy.
 
Through NVTAC, AHP quickly became the go-to source for a broad range of technical assistance, training, and policy advice on veterans’ homelessness programs and issues to existing and potential audiences. This has been done through:

  • developing, conducting, and documenting extensive outreach efforts to national, state, and local employers to increase their awareness of HVRP, HFVVWF, IVTP, and SD in order to increase employment and training opportunities for veterans experiencing or at risk of homelessness;
  • identifying, extracting, documenting, and sharing best practices or other case-study-oriented overviews, as defined and directed by VETS;
  • assisting VETS leadership by suggesting and conducting research and program improvement-based studies, as ultimately defined and directed by VETS; and 
  • providing consulting to an external national evaluation of the HVRP.
Among the major accomplishments in this project, AHP developed remote service-informed technical assistance and research-driven virtual training to grantees in settings ranging from urban to rural across the nation, serving women veterans, incarcerated veterans, veterans in families, Native American veterans, and single male veterans. Training topics included improving employment outcomes to justice-involved veterans, approaches to job-driven training, and meeting the needs of veterans with behavioral health and other challenges. In addition, NVTAC has provided onsite grantee-specific assistance to improve program operations, integrate use of best practices, and achieve desired outcomes in the Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, and San Francisco regions. NVTAC developed a number of electronic and print materials, including brief video interviews with experienced grantees, briefing papers, research results, website updates, and a self-paced elearning course on job retention for veterans.
 
Related resources and publications:

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.

Recovery to Practice

AHP has contracted with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) on the Recovery to Practice (RTP) workforce initiative to expand and integrate recovery-oriented care delivered by behavioral health providers across systems and service settings by fostering a better understanding of recovery, recovery-oriented practices, and the roles of the various behavioral health professions in promoting recovery.
 
The RTP initiative aims to address applications and recovery-oriented practices within multidisciplinary services and integrated settings. The contract tasks include redeveloping and expanding the RTP website, creating quarterly newsletters and other resources; providing technical assistance and educational events to help promote and support recovery-oriented approaches in integrated and multidisciplinary settings; creating new training modules on interdisciplinary service approaches and homelessness; and developing decision support resources for clinicians.
 
In this project, AHP leads a team that includes the Center for Social Innovation and the Foundation for Mental Hygiene, New York State Psychiatric Institute, Center for Practice Innovation at Columbia University.
 
Key accomplishments of this project include the development and delivery of 12 onsite and 12 virtual technical assistance programs and presentations for diverse audiences of practitioners, administrators, and consumers; the distribution of four magazine style newsletters with practical information on integrating recovery across a variety of topics and practices to a list of more than 6,000 subscribers; the development of a “virtual grand rounds” six-part clinical decision support webinar series that offers real-world training in recovery-oriented practice to clinicians and prescribers; and the creation of two comprehensive training manuals.
 
Related resources and publications:
 

SAMHSA’s Homeless and Housing Resource Network

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) contracted with AHP to provide training and technical assistance (TA) on housing and homelessness to SAMHSA Homeless Program Branch grantees and other homeless housing and service providers operating across the U.S. states and territories. Homeless housing and service programs are united by a vision of ending homelessness by supporting individuals through a process of change as they improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential. The goals of this project include the following:

  • Promoting the adoption of best practices for serving people who are experiencing homelessness or are at risk of becoming homeless and have chronic mental illness or co-occurring disorders;
  • Increasing workforce capacity through TA and training;
  • Disseminating information to the homeless services field in support of SAMHSA’s strategic initiatives;
  • Collaborating with other agencies and organizations to improve the coordination of SAMHSA activities focused on addressing homelessness and building effective partnerships; and
  • Measuring meaningful change.
The HHRN TA team is led by AHP and includes partners HomeBase, Policy Research Associates (PRA), JBS International, the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD), and Abt Associates. Key accomplishments of SAMHSA’s HHRN project include the following:

  • Conducting 147 webinars on 73 topics;
  • Offering 24 PATH HMIS learning community seasons this year to SAMSHA grantees;
  • Providing responses to grantee TA requests, including approximately 75 requests per month through the PATH PDX Help Desk;
  • Leading workshops at conferences and conducting virtual workshops at state conferences;
  • Providing onsite technical assistance with follow-up remote sessions to work through challenges of implementation;
  • Providing intensive and light-touched remote TA to grantees; and
  • Facilitating communities of practice (CoP), including two CoPs using the Project ECHO Model.


AHP updated, enhanced, and field tested two evidence-based practices toolKITs focused on people experiencing homelessness—the Permanent Supportive Housing KIT and the Integrated Treatment for Co-occurring Disorders KIT. In addition, HHRN has conducted multifaceted, interagency policy academies on chronic homelessness (CH). In collaboration with other federal agencies, HHRN led two policy academies on youth homelessness on outreach and engagement to people experiencing unsheltered homelessness.
 
Related resources and publications:
 

Technical Assistance to the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) Office of the Director

Over several contracts, AHP has conducted studies, provided analysis and technical advice, written papers and Reports to Congress, and reviewed CMHS business operations. In addition, AHP writers are the principal speech and blog writers for the CMHS Office of the Director. Speeches and blogs communicate SAMHSA’s vision, mission, and priorities as they relate to the development of a person-centered, recovery-focused, evidence-based, and quality-driven system of behavioral health care. Speeches are prepared for national meetings and conventions, state and community organizations, national and international policymaking groups, and congressional committees. 
 
AHP’s accomplishments in support of the CMHS Office of the Director are both broad and deep. For example, AHP:
 
  • Wrote Reports to Congress on borderline personality disorder and certified community behavioral health clinics;
  • Provided insight into the evolving research and policy surrounding the social determinants of mental health;
  • Helped assess the evidence base for the effectiveness of selected behavioral health treatments;
  • Examined states’ priorities vis-a-vis health reform;
  • Reviewed crisis support programs for people with behavioral health conditions;
  • Examined employment of individuals with behavioral health disorders who have criminal justice involvement;
  • Conducted an examination of patient activation for behavioral health;
  • Developed CMHS program profiles;
  • Helped develop materials related to the prevention of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders;
  • Examined the relationship of maternal health and child behavioral health outcomes; and
  • Analyzed the extent to which the landmark Supreme Court decision in Olmstead v. L.C. is working for Americans with disabilities, including those with mental and substance use disorders.
     
Related resources and publications:
 

Uniform Data Systems for Health Centers

AHP, in partnership with John Snow, Inc. (JSI), supports the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC) in the continual development and improvement of processes, documentation, and technical assistance supporting the annual collection of BPHC and BHPr (Bureau of Health Professionals) Uniform Data System (UDS) program performance data from grantees.

The UDS is a core set of information used for reviewing the operation and performance of the approximately 1,300 health centers (Section 330 Federally-qualified Health Centers [FQHCs]), FQHC Look-Alikes (LALs) and Bureau of Health Workforce (BHW) Primary Care Clinics) nationwide, which tracks information about patient demographics, services provided, staffing, clinical indicators, utilization rates, and financial measures.

Project goals include ensuring the reliability and validity of UDS data by providing training, technical support and UDS reviewer expertise; collaborating with HRSA Electronic Handbook (EHB) system developers to enhance reporting tools and develop various standardized reports; and conducting analyses and developing reports useful to health centers (for program management and performance improvement), project officers (for monitoring and technical assistance), and to HRSA for analyzing the individual and collective impact of health centers in providing primary health care services to the nation’s underserved populations.

Related resources and publications:

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