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DFWBGH Selected for National Mental Health Initiative


The DFW Business Group on Health has been selected to be a part of an nationwide initiative to improve mental health. Leveraging its contacts in the business world, the group will work with health plans, providers, and consultants to address the crisis.

The initiative is called The Path Forward for Mental Health and Substance Use and is a five-year plan to address mental health and substance abuse via the private sector. It is led by the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions, American Psychiatric Association, American Psychiatric Association Foundation, Center for Workplace Mental Health and Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute.

“As an employer-led coalition, DFWBGH has always been in the forefront of healthcare improvement efforts in North Texas,” said Marianne Fazen, DFWBGH executive director via release. “Three years ago, we turned our attention to mental health and substance abuse in response to this growing crisis in the workplace. We have been educating our employers about strategies to recognize the symptoms of mental illness and substance abuse, reduce the stigma, and improve access to appropriate treatment.”

Patients are more likely to receive out-of-network care for mental health treatment compared to other conditions, adding costs for consumers and employers alike. The initiative hopes to improve access to in-network behavioral health care, integrate behavioral health into primary care, improving telehealth, and more.

“The mental health and substance use system across the country is in crisis,” said Michael Thompson, National Alliance President and CEO via release. “These employers are the primary financiers of the system and they will both set the tone and hold the stakeholders accountable for accomplishing these goals.”

“This isn’t simply about greater access to care for mental health and substance use disorders; it’s about treating these medical conditions with the same urgency and care as other serious disorders, such as heart disease and diabetes, employing data-driven screening, measurement-based care, and cost-effective treatment,” said Andy Keller, PhD, President and CEO of the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute, via release. “We know how to provide effective medical care, and we are going to now make that the norm for mental health care.”