CINCINNATI—The University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Nursing, along with the UC College of Medicine and partners at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and UC’s University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, has received almost $1 million to develop programs to grow in number and better prepare practitioners to meet the primary care and mental health care needs of the Ohio Medicaid population.
The 14-month award is on behalf of the Ohio Department of Medicaid and will utilize Medicaid Technical Assistance and Policy Program (MEDTAPP) federal financial participation (FFP) funds to support UC’s participation in the MEDTAPP Healthcare Access Initiative. UC’s MEDTAPP Healthcare Access Initiative project will be led by the College of Nursing’s Suzanne Perraud, PhD, principal investigator, and Diana McIntosh, PhD, co-principal investigator. While UC is receiving $965,000 in MEDTAPP FFP funds to support this work, the university will also be providing $1,063,000 in cost share.
"The funding from MEDTAPP will help us to recruit and retain practitioners who will serve the Ohio Medicaid population,” says Perraud, senior associate dean for academic affairs at the College of Nursing. "And because the nature of health care is interprofessional—and chronic and mental illness are often seen together, and across the lifespan—it’s extremely important that we work in a multidisciplinary way to achieve this goal.”
The team plans to use the funding to train a number of future and current health care providers to provide quality, integrated behavioral health and primary care to underserved populations, with specific emphasis on child/adolescent and geriatric populations. This will include training of 50 fourth-year medical students, 26 family and community medicine residents, 25 advanced practice nurses enrolled in UC’s psychiatric mental health post-master’s certificate program and one child and adolescent psychiatric resident.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one out of every 17 people has a severe mental health disorder—and underserved populations (often Medicaid consumers) are disproportionately affected. In addition, Ohio is listed by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration as having among the highest workforce shortages of primary and mental health care providers.
"The prevalence of chronic and mental illness—combined with the shortage of health care providers in these areas—only serves to increase costs of care and health disparities among our Medicaid population,” says McIntosh, coordinator of the College of Nursing’s new psychiatric mental health post-master’s certificate program. "If we can grow and better prepare our workforce to address needs of this population, we estimate we can reduce costs and provide a higher level of care for so many who are underserved.”
Principal investigators at partner institutions include Joseph Kiesler, MD, UC Department of Family and Community Medicine; Michael Sorter, MD, Cincinnati Children’s Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry; and Tanya Froelich, MD, Cincinnati Children’s Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.