By Pamela S. Hyde, J.D.
As a national leader in behavioral health, SAMHSA has a key role to play in Health Care Reform—one of the Agency’s eight Strategic Initiatives. Our job is to ensure that mental health and addiction services are an integral part of health care reform efforts. (See What You Need To Know About Health Reform.)
The Agency is taking a lead role in shaping policies regarding home- and community-based services for individuals with mental and substance use disorders. Those policies include integrating primary care and behavioral health, and creating “health homes” to improve health services to individuals with chronic conditions (see What Are Health Homes?).
SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D.
Changing the Nation’s health care system will be complex and challenging. But it’s worth the effort.
Here at SAMHSA, we are very clear that behavioral health is essential to health. That key message creates the context in which we are moving SAMHSA’s agenda forward.
Details of SAMHSA’s agenda are included in the draft paper, Leading Change: A Plan for SAMHSA’s Roles and Actions: 2011-2014. The paper, posted on SAMHSA’s redesigned website, describes the plan to use eight Strategic Initiatives to maximize the impact of available resources in these critical areas.
I’m happy to report that by the close of the public comment period on Leading Change, more than 2,900 individuals had cast more than 26,000 “votes,” offered 687 ideas, and posted 1,752 comments. On the final day for comments (October 22), we received a total of 8,500 votes. Thank you all for your participation!
In developing Leading Change, we tried to think about the context we’re living in right now. SAMHSA for a long time has used the phrase “A Life in the Community for Everyone,” meaning that everyone deserves a healthy life, a home, a purpose, and a community.
We also talk about how prevention works, treatment is effective, and that people recover. Those messages guide our work. You’ll see each of those messages reflected in the Strategic Initiatives.
Each of SAMHSA’s eight Strategic Initiatives has an image that illustrates the initiative’s focus.
This issue of SAMHSA News highlights the Strategic Initiative on Health Care Reform. In the coming months, SAMHSA News will feature the other initiatives, including:
- Prevention of Substance Abuse and Mental Illness
- Trauma and Justice
- Military Families
- Housing and Homelessness
- Health Information Technology
- Data, Outcomes, and Quality
- Public Awareness and Support.
Recognizing that SAMHSA is not the only player in these eight strategic areas, it is critical that we partner and collaborate with others and stay focused on the people we serve, not just the systems we’re trying to change. We are trying to ensure what we’re doing makes a positive and measurable difference. It’s really important that we get this right. I’m interested in hearing your feedback, which will help guide SAMHSA’s present and future work.
At SAMHSA, we frame our mission as “Reducing the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.” There’s a lot in that phrase.
It is about community, yes. But it’s also about how all of us from the Federal Government to states to communities are making sure our priorities are working for stakeholders.
For more information on the eight Strategic Initiatives, visit SAMHSA’s website.