Executive Statement from Rob Cohen, CEO of Bamboo Health
Recent news has highlighted the critical flaws in getting patients the urgent and necessary behavioral health help they need. In far too many instances across our nation, patients who need behavioral health treatment are discharged from an emergency department and left to rely on inadequate treatment directories to locate providers for follow-up care and guidance. For patients, this can be an inefficient manual process plagued by disconnected phone numbers, relocated or retired providers, or facilities unable to accept new patients. This leaves those – who are already facing critical situations – to feel hopeless and fall through the cracks.
This is all occurring at a time when we’ve reached yet another startling record in our nation’s growing opioid crisis, with an estimated 107,000 Americans dying of drug overdoses in 2021, according to provisional estimates just released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
We can and must do better. Bamboo Health is working to ensure that patients get access to the care they need when they need it most, by bridging gaps in behavioral healthcare and substance use disorder (SUD) treatment referral resources. We have partnered with more than a dozen states and counting to solve this problem, giving providers a way to easily and immediately refer individuals to treatment and coordinate care for the receiving facilities.
This is done through OpenBeds, our provider-facing behavioral health solution for health systems, health plans, state governments, behavioral health facilities, community organizations, and others. OpenBeds was developed to address the inefficient manual processes used to locate and refer patients to the appropriate level of care. The platform tracks bed and appointment availability and ensures quick patient referrals to the right behavioral health facilities through an up-to-date network maintained in partnership with our team and the states in which OpenBeds currently operates. With OpenBeds, providers in primary care, social work, the emergency department, and other stakeholders in the crisis management process can know exactly where treatment openings are available throughout the state and the type of treatment available, facilitated by a closed-loop referral system – helping to close care gaps and better support crisis management for patients and providers.
While we continue to help solve our country’s behavioral health epidemic, one milestone we are particularly proud of is our work with Delaware’s Department of Health and Social Services’ Division of Substance Use and Mental Health. Through our work together, the state surpassed 100,000 referrals in December 2021 through its Delaware Treatment and Referral Network (DTRN), a system for Delawareans seeking substance use and mental health services. Delaware achieved this milestone with its referral system built on the OpenBeds platform, which launched in October 2018. The DTRN system identifies and tracks behavioral health and social determinants of health resources throughout the state, giving providers immediate visibility into resource availability across a shared network. This makes it easier to get people the help they need when they need it.
For individuals in need of immediate behavioral health services, our Treatment Connection solution, through OpenBeds, is also available to the community at large. It is an evidence-based assessment and referral site, which enables those seeking mental health and SUD treatment, or their loved ones, to find nearby, state-vetted treatment providers, evaluate the type of care they need, and submit anonymous or non-anonymous referral inquiries to providers. Unique to Treatment Connection is our ‘Learn About Treatment’ option. At-risk individuals can select the ‘Educational Material’ button to access substance use treatment resources or select ‘What Level of Treatment Do I Need’ to take a self-assessment, developed in partnership with the American Society of Addiction Medicine, to determine the appropriate type of treatment for themselves or a loved one. The Treatment Connection blog has additional articles and resources to learn more about mental health and substance use awareness, prevention, and treatment.
This Mental Health Awareness Month, let us make it a point to check in on our loved ones, colleagues, and neighbors to ensure that they are connected to the hands-on care they need. We can all do our part to make sure those in need receive access to life-changing behavioral health treatment. At Bamboo Health, we are proud to develop and leverage solutions that enable this access – connecting and informing providers and payers with unique data, insights, and clinical decision support tools to enhance their patients’ physical and behavioral health in real time when they need it most.