Evaluation, Quality Management & Improvement Division (EQMI)
The Planning Unit performs various planning and administrative functions within the Evaluation, Quality Management, and Improvement Division. In particular, the Planning Unit assists in managing mental health and addiction service resources through analyzing service delivery and access to care across populations. The Planning Unit also facilitates input from stakeholders in the planning process, working collaboratively with all central office operational and administrative units, various stakeholder groups, and other state agencies.
Major Areas of Responsibility:
1. Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Block Grants
Annually, over $20 million of federal funding flows to DMHAS through two block grants administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The Planning Unit is responsible for coordinating and completing the federal applications for funding.
Specific responsibilities include:
monitoring and documenting compliance with block grant requirements to assess compliance with federal mandates,
identifying unmet behavioral health care needs and the current demand for services,
determining strategies to address identified service needs, and
reporting performance measures.
In addition to the biannual application and performance and data reporting, the Planning Unit supports DMHAS staff in other ways regarding block grant administration. It supports DMHAS staff through interpreting federal regulations, providing or requesting technical assistance, evaluating data to assure proper integrity, and assisting in the implementation of appropriate procedures to comply with federal block grant requirements.
As part of the block grant process, the Planning Unit manages the department’s Allocation Plans submitted to the Governor and the joint Appropriations and Public Health legislative committee..
Contact Person: Susan Bouffard, 860-418-6993, firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Planning and Data Related Activities:
Priority Setting Process
Every two years, DMHAS conducts a priority setting process meant to engage and draw upon the existing and extensive planning, advisory, and advocacy structures across the state. Regional Mental Health Boards and Regional Action Councils form the basis of the regional priority setting process, facilitating grassroots input and independent viewpoints. In conducting these regional assessments, DMHAS service data, local needs assessments, provider surveys, and focus groups, including “community conversations”, were among the sources and strategies used to collect information. The reports produced identify strengths, service gaps and barriers, and recommendations for improving the behavioral health service system. The purpose of the priority setting process is to produce one integrated relevant document to inform planning, budgeting, and most significantly, Connecticut’s Community Mental Health Services and Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant Applications. Each region presented its findings to the DMHAS Commissioner and executive staff. The 2014 Report on Statewide Priority Services will be posted upon completion.
Each of the five uniform service regions, through the Regional Mental Health Boards and Regional Action Councils, prepares a regional priority report which Planning staff reviews and then compiles a consensus documented Report on Statewide Priority Services or Priority Report. The Priority Report is shared and discussed with the Adult Behavioral Health Planning Council, the State Board on Mental Health and Addiction Services, and the Commissioner’s Executive Group.
Priority “updates” are developed in the intervening years informing DMHAS of progress made in addressing the identified unmet needs and to alert the department to any emerging issues.
Interagency Data Sharing Initiative
Enacted in 1999, CGS Section 17a-451(o) requires DMHAS to establish uniform policies and procedures for collecting, standardizing, managing, and evaluating data related to substance use, abuse, and addiction programs administered by state agencies, state-funded community-based programs, and the Judicial Branch. OPAS is responsible for preparing the biennial report which is submitted to the Governor, General Assembly, and other policy-making bodies. The report includes: a) client and patient demographic information; b) trends and risk factors associated with alcohol and drug use, abuse and addiction; c) effectiveness of services based on outcome measures; and d) a statewide cost analysis.
Since the enactment of the state statute, the number of collaborating state agencies and scope of data sharing has grown immensely. Today nine state departments, the Office of Policy and Management, and the Judicial Branch work collaboratively contributing to the findings presented in the 2013 Biennial Report on the Collection and Evaluation of Data Related to Substance Use, Abuse and Addiction Programs. (2013 Biennial Report Cover Letter).
Research and Other Related Projects
Over the past decade, the Planning Unit has managed a number of studies in collaboration with the DMHAS Research Division and the department’s Academic Partnership (Yale University, University of Connecticut Health Center). These studies have included a wide range of population based research such as assessing substance abuse prevention and treatment needs through surveys and face-to-face interviews, and analysis of treatment outcomes and cost effectiveness of services through linking data across state agencies. Findings from these studies have greatly advanced the knowledge of populations in need of addiction services, providing the basis for the development of effective strategies to address the need both within the DMHAS service population and across other service systems in Connecticut.
Content Last Modified on 3/1/2019 9:18:52 AM