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Improving the Quality of Health Care for Mental and Substance-Use Conditions
Providing a continuing assessment of M/SU workforce trends, issues, and financing policies.
Measuring the extent to which the plan’s objectives have been met and reporting annually to the nation on the status of the M/SU workforce.
Soliciting technical assistance from public–private partnerships to facilitate the work of the council and the efforts of educational and accreditation bodies to implement its recommendations.
Recommendation 7-2. Licensing boards, accrediting bodies, and purchasers should incorporate the competencies and national standards established by the Council on the Mental and Substance-Use Health Care Workforce in discharging their regulatory and contracting responsibilities.
Recommendation 7-3. The federal government should support the development of M/SU faculty leaders in health professions schools, such as schools of nursing and medicine, and in schools and programs that educate M/SU professionals, such as psychologists and social workers. The aim should be to narrow the gaps among what is known through research, what is taught, and what is done by those who provide M/SU services.
Recommendation 7-4. To facilitate the development and implementation of core competencies across all M/SU disciplines, institutions of higher education should place much greater emphasis on interdisciplinary didactic and experiential learning and should bring together faculty and trainees from their various education programs.
The ease with which several of the above recommendations can be carried out depends on how accommodating the marketplace is to their implementation. The M/SU health care marketplace is distinguished from the general health care marketplace in several ways, including the dominance of government (state and local) purchasers, the frequent purchase of insurance for M/SU health care separately from that for other health care (the use of “carve-out” arrangements), the tendency of the private insurance marketplace to avoid covering or to offer more limited coverage to persons with M/SU illnesses, and government purchasers’ greater use of direct provision and purchase of care rather than insurance arrangements. Attending to those differences is essential if the marketplace is to promote quality improvement in M/SU health care. The committee recommends four ways of strengthening the marketplace to that end.