I was part of a thought leader think tank organized by the National Alliance for Caregiving about mental health resources for caregivers. They asked us to talk about existing resources, the barriers and challenges to offering these services, and strategies we might implement to improve access.
Now, you all know that I am dedicated to ensuring that anyone who touches the caregiver has the training and incentives to activate the cascade of support for mental health concerns and anything else caregivers need. My idea was that there should be HEDIS measures for caregiving. The healthcare effectiveness data and information set were implemented by the National Committee on Quality Assurance, or NCQA, as performance parameters for managed care companies. Consumers could use this information to compare plans, but there’s also a financial impact for programs that do not meet their HEDIS scores.
For example, members with diabetes should all have screenings for their eyes, their kidneys, and their feet. All members should have appropriate immunizations and healthcare screenings, and Medicare recipients who have their annual wellness exams get discussions about depression and advanced directives in addition to all of the clinical evaluations.
Why can’t there be a HEDIS measure that asks whether the member has a caregiver, whether the member is a caregiver, what the caregiver does, and how they’re doing? Tying caregiver evaluation to HEDIS scores is the incentive, but we can’t stop there. We have to commit to education so that every clinician knows how to recognize who is the caregiver and the essential role they play in our health system and offer appropriate referrals.
Let me know what you think below in the comments.
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