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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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:
 

Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority [DWMHA] (formerly Detroit-Wayne County Community Mental Health Agency [D-WCCMHA])

Detroit Wayne County Community Mental Health Agency (D-WCCMHA) engaged AHP in 2006 to provide and coordinate technical assistance and evaluation services for eight community mental health centers that received new funding to develop and operate supportive housing and supported employment initiatives. AHP helped implement these Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) evidence-based practices (EBPs) to fidelity, together with ensuring the client and its stakeholders had access to timely and ongoing information on program performance.
 
Work occurred over many years (from 2006 through 2015) and involved many tasks and elements. Following are highlights of some of this work:
 

  • 2006–2011: AHP defined and developed a sustainable strategy to implement supported employment and housing initiatives. It also developed guidelines to assist providers in implementing these practices. AHP senior staff facilitated numerous onsite strategic planning and operations management sessions for executive leadership of the nine agencies in the initiative. Other work during this time included:
    • Development of bi-annual fidelity assessments of supported employment and supportive housing models implemented by provider agencies;
    • Provision of extensive on- and off-site technical assistance, training, and mentoring;
    • Development and design of e-learning courses on 1) Permanent Supportive Housing; 2) Planning for Housing; and 3) Role of Housing in Recovery; and
    • Performance of process/outcome evaluations of supported employment and supportive housing initiatives by conducting key informant focus groups and individual-level data collection
       
  • 2011-2015: AHP’s work focused on supported housing initiatives during this period. Key accomplishments include:
    • Redesign of outcomes evaluation to facilitate performance monitoring along with providing technical assistance in the form of training development and implementation;
    • Performance of an overhaul of existing quantitative consumer-level evaluation data, working closely with a local evaluator and project stakeholders. The new system led to a marked increase in provider program engagement that allowed delivery of monthly performance data for eight providers serving 200 active consumers; and
    • Planning and implementation of nine site visits to evaluate provider agencies on an annual basis.
       
  • 2012-2013: AHP worked together with a planning team to design curriculum and develop priority messaging. AHP gathered feedback on draft materials that resulted in development and implementation of a two-day onsite GOI training session, as well as two new online training courses, including:
    1. Critical Time Intervention (CTI) and Permanent Supportive Housing; and
    2. General Organizational Index (GOI) and Permanent Supportive Housing.
 
In addition, AHP implemented a plan to gather service use data for both supportive housing and employment consumers that expanded descriptive information on consumers served. This data demonstrated a reduction in costly inpatient and crisis-related service use following supported employment and supportive housing program enrollment.
 
Related resources and publications:

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.

Integrated Health Care for African Americans with Mental Illness who are Homeless

AHP is collaborating with the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) to develop, implement and pilot-test an integrated behavioral health and primary care intervention for homeless African Americans with mental illness. Funded by the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities, in this project, peer navigators—African Americans with lived experience of homelessness and behavioral health problems—connect homeless African Americans with mental illness to medical and mental health care, helping them “navigate” these complicated health systems. AHP and IIT are conducting a randomized controlled clinical trial examining the effectiveness of peer navigators in improving health outcomes for this vulnerable population.
 
Related resources and publications:
 
  • Corrigan, P.W., Pickett, S., Kraus, D., Burks, R., & Schmidt, A. (2015). Community-based participatory research examining the health care needs of African Americans who are homeless with mental illness. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 26(1), 119-133. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25702732.
  • Corrigan, P.W., Pickett, S.A., Batia, K., & Michaels, P.J. (2014). Peer navigators and integrated care to address ethnic health disparities. Social Work in Public Health, 29, 581-593. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25144699

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:

Supporting the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association in its Advocacy for Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health Services

AHP has supported long-time client and partner, the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association (IADDA), on several key policy, marketing, and system design initiatives. In 2012, AHP reviewed and analyzed state insurance laws and regulations, and made recommendations concerning substance use disorder (SUD) policy and coverage. Subsequently, in light of Illinois’ decision to expand Medicaid in a coordinated care organization context in 2013–2014, AHP conducted an environmental scan to identify gaps in the statewide system of care that, if filled adequately, would result in an “ideal system design.” In 2014, AHP provided a review and set of recommendations for cost rates of behavioral health services in Illinois. The resulting document showed current rates were under national norms, and the data was used by IADDA in lobbying efforts to adjust provider rates in the state.

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.