OHSU Receives Funding to Launch Behavioral Health Services Coordination Effort


A psychologist takes notes as a teenager speaks at a mental health meeting. Oregon Health & Science University will receive $1.5 million to develop coordinated behavioral health service plans across the state. (Getty Images)

Oregon Health & Science University will develop a plan to coordinate behavioral health services available across the state, thanks to $1.5 million in funding passed by the Oregon Legislature last week.

With this funding, OHSU will develop a proposal and plan for the establishment of a coordinating center for acute and residential behavioral health services throughout Oregon. The center will be supported by a dashboard tool that will provide real-time data on facility capacity and available placement options for behavioral health patients, children and adults.

OHSU will work with the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), Oregon State Hospital, community residential behavioral health care providers, hospitals and health systems to develop a plan for the center and dashboard.

Matthias Merkel, MD, Ph.D. A person with black-rimmed glasses and facial hair, smiling.

Matthias Merkel, MD, Ph.D. (OHSU)

“It will take unprecedented collaboration and a willingness to think differently to better connect Oregon’s fragmented and underfunded behavioral health services, improve access for Oregonians, and support providers. at all levels of care,” says Matthias Merkel, MD, Ph.D., OHSU Senior Associate Chief Medical Officer for Capacity Management and Patient Flow, and Professor of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine at OHSU School of Medicine. “We are excited to partner with community behavioral health providers and the OHA to develop a proposal that will help improve our collective understanding of Oregon’s behavioral health use and maximize the impact of our infrastructure for Oregonians.”

The partners will work to develop a plan to present to the Oregon Legislature in the 2023 session; the objective will be to obtain funds to put the plan into action.

This effort continues OHSU’s leadership in improving coordination and information sharing within the institution and across the state.

In 2017, OHSU opened OHSU Mission Control, which uses deep learning technology to provide OHSU personnel with real-time data that helps them make decisions about how use OHSU’s limited bed capacity to serve the most patients.

Peter Graven, Ph.D. (OHSU) a light-haired, smiling person.

Peter Graven, Ph.D. (OHSU)

During the pandemic, OHSU has partnered with OHA, hospitals and health systems across the state to create a capacity tracker that provides real-time hospital census data to inform hospitals inter-hospital transfer options for patients. The system centralized information-sharing efforts and improved coordination of critical care resources available across the state as the number of critically ill patients, including those with COVID-19, increased; the data also informs hospitalization forecasts produced by Peter Graven, Ph.D.director of the OHSU Office of Advanced Analytics, which has helped inform Oregon’s public health response to the coronavirus since February 2020.

And, in 2021, OHSU initiated the creation of the Oregon Medical Coordination Center, working with the OHA and other health systems in the Portland metro area to better serve Oregonians who need care. a higher level of intensive care than is available in their communities. The center initially coordinated among Portland’s largest health systems, which provide the highest level of critical care services in the state, and it now coordinates statewide in an on-demand function. .


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