Mental health

Michigan schools adopt new software to expand mental health services – Concentrate

Summary

This article is part of State of Health, a series about how Michigan communities are rising to address health challenges. It is made possible with funding from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund.

Thanks to expanded funding, more Michigan schools are supporting their students’ mental and behavioral health. However, managing mental health support services for the hundreds or thousands of students enrolled in any of Michigan’s intermediate school districts (ISDs) is no simple task. That’s why …….

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This article is part of State of Health, a series about how Michigan communities are rising to address health challenges. It is made possible with funding from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund.

Thanks to expanded funding, more Michigan schools are supporting their students’ mental and behavioral health. However, managing mental health support services for the hundreds or thousands of students enrolled in any of Michigan’s intermediate school districts (ISDs) is no simple task. That’s why the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) is making mdlogix bhworks behavioral health software available to all 56 of the state’s ISDs. 

The software electronically manages and merges referrals, screenings, consent forms, assessments, treatment plans, and confidential communications among parents, teachers, and providers within one secure, HIPAA– and FERPA-compliant system. K–12 schools in 21 Michigan ISDs are already using the software to help therapists, counselors, and social workers streamline tasks and increase time spent actually seeing students. Another 10 Michigan ISDs are set to launch the software soon.
Diane Golzynski.
“Our goal is to streamline the work as much as possible so we can maximize the providers’ time with kids,” says Diane Golzynski, director of the MDE Office of Health and Nutrition Services. “This software really is meant to help us get to that point.”

When Scott Hutchins joined Golzynski as school mental health and Medicaid consultant for the Office of Health and Nutrition Services in 2020, he began fielding a lot of questions from ISDs about how they ought to implement mental health supports in their schools. He discovered that they lacked a consistent way to organize referrals, utilize assessments, and share information. The bhworks platform helps providers serving the state’s students to save time, work more effectively, follow evidence-based standards, and leverage best practices. The platform is designed to address students with depression, trauma, anxiety, substance use, and eating disorders — and reduce risks for self-harm, violence, and suicide.

“They were spending a lot of time really not doing what they were intending to do, which is providing direct services to students,” Hutchins says. “They had a lot of ancillary things. We wanted to find a platform that would streamline best practices for standard operating procedures.”

Building a better system

Copper Country ISD (CCISD) was the first ISD to pilot the software. CCISD oversees schools across a huge geographic area in the northern tip of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula — Houghton, Baraga, and Keweenaw counties — serving approximately 6,600 students in 14 local school districts: nine K-12, one K-8, and four K-6 districts. With CCISD’s feedback, mdlogix tweaked the software to better meet Michigan schools’ needs. 

“We wanted a central referral system and a way we can keep all of the information in one area,” says Natalie Morgan, CCISD mental health services coordinator. “We did have a spreadsheet to keep track of paper referrals that schools had to …….

Source: https://www.secondwavemedia.com/features/bhworks11182021.aspx