A doctor handing a patient a prescription.

NPCHF President and CEO Russell Johnson pens article on the safety net system in health care

The Philadelphia Social Innovations Journal recently published an article entitled, "The Holistic Healthcare Safety Net System: Pennsylvania’s Next Frontier," written by the foundation's president.

In the article, Johnson describes how the health care delivery system is responding to the changes required by the Affordable Care Act to better meet the needs of patients, especially those recently enrolled in health insurance.

The article also discusses how the essential health benefits, required by the ACA, are helping primary care providers better identify and treat behavioral health conditions and substance abuse issues.

Johnson continues by delineating the four practice models for integrating behavioral health services into the pirmary care that have been used in Pennsylvania. But he notes significant barriers remain.

The article acknowledges that Pennsylvania has yet to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the ACA for states to expand Medicaid. This situation has impacted nearly 500,000 Pennsylvanians who do not currently have an opportunity to secure affordable health insurance, which creates another barrier to inegrateing physical and behavioral health.

Johnson concludes by calling for Pennsylvania to embrace the redesign of the HealthChoices system while continuing its leadership in promoting a cost-effective, high-quality system.

Read the full article here.