/ Modified apr 8, 2016 5:18 p.m.

Arizona Behavioral Health Care Provider's Integrated Approach

Metro Week looks at Cenpatico's first five months in Southern Arizona.

All of the public mental health providers in Southern Arizona are managed by a single company.

Cenpatico Integrated Care took over as the Regional Behavioral Health Agency in October, ending a 20-year tenure for the Community Partnership of Southern Arizona.

Since then the company’s CEO Terry Stevens said Cenpatico contracted with physical and behavioral health providers, opened a Tucson office and hired more than 250 new employees.

“The first five months you really just try to make sure that everybody is getting services and then you start to make changes and improvements,” Stevens said.

Health-care advocates reported members experienced some glitches in the first few months including problems filing concerns and complaints.

Local providers and clinicians have also noticed changes such as more frequent audits of their claims.

"They're already having to more frequently and more extensively report on what they're doing," said reporter Gisela Telis, during Metro Week's journalists roundtable. "So they're having to take a lot more time for documentation of what they do."

Stevens said Cenpatico’s approach to behavioral health care is integrated.

An example of this is educating dentists and general care providers about mental illnesses and creating physical health clinics within existing behavioral health clinics.

“This is the place where our the folks that have a serious mental illness feel most comfortable and are more likely to come on a regular basis to get their preventative care,” Stevens said.

The goal is that when members receive behavioral health care they will also be able to access services such as flu shots, smoking cessation programs and exercise classes.

On the program:

  • Terry Stevens, Cenpatico’s CEO
  • The journalists roundtable with The Arizona Daily Star’s Emily Bregel, and AZPM’s Gisela Telis and Christopher Conover.
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