Stakeholder report 2021
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Behavioral Health

Bolstering Behavioral Health

While COVID-19’s physical symptoms were well-documented, the impact on mental health was substantial, too. Many of our members feared the virus itself. Others drifted into isolation and loneliness brought on by quarantine and social distancing. Still others turned to alcohol and drugs to navigate a complicated new environment. Meanwhile, those with existing behavioral health conditions reached out for help to maintain the level of care they needed to survive. For those reasons, behavioral health was a major focus of the CareSource pandemic response.

In response to the surge in behavioral health concerns, CareSource took a proactive approach in our communities to engage members at all stages of their care, while supporting our providers and health care workers on the front lines of this battle. Actions included:

  • A $1 million gift to Integrated Services for Behavioral Health (ISBH), a comprehensive community-based behavioral health provider serving Appalachian children and families.
  • A $100,000 investment in the Child & Family Health Collaborative of Ohio, a statewide children’s behavioral health provider network committed to improving health and social outcomes for children.
  • $8 million in loan forgiveness to Ohio providers affected by COVID-19.
  • Provider assistance for personal protective equipment, mobile unit support, meals and hygiene kits.
  • Enhanced member benefits like unlimited transportation for food, pharmacy and medical visits.

Internally, the CareSource behavioral health team developed a guide with over 600 resources for staff, which was updated weekly, including a tracking sheet detailing telemedicine capacity for providers. Through it all, CareSource connected members to providers and community partners to assure their needs were met.

CareSource Behavioral Health Services


Provider Listening Sessions Shape Our Response

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, CareSource has recognized that we must play a critical role in serving our providers and members. In response, we organized and hosted the COVID-19 Behavioral Health Provider Listening Sessions to create a safe space for providers to support one another, while sharing information, ideas and innovation to address challenges related to the pandemic. Our ultimate goal was to keep our providers and members healthy and safe while accessing ever-important behavioral health services.

As a result of provider feedback in those early listening sessions, CareSource provided trade organizations and associations with cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, funding for personal protective equipment (PPE) and funding for naloxone. As the providers continued to innovate, we adjusted our response to best fit their needs. 

Based on a number of listening sessions, we authored the position and advocacy document: Initial COVID-19 Telehealth Recommendations for Behavioral Health in Ohio, identifying six strategic themes for developing a person- and community-centered service delivery model for telehealth: operations, timelines, delivery modalities, HIPAA considerations, substance use disorder services and health disparities.

Through these listening sessions, CareSource was able to engage providers and communities in building out services via community learning collaboratives, technical assistance around community mental health centers incorporating integrated care into their services model and connecting peer recovery services within Appalachia.


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