Mountain West region faces critical mental health worker shortage

The Mountain West region of the United States faces a critical shortage of mental health professionals, according to a story by the Mountain West News Bureau, citing a new AHA report on the health care access challenges facing the nation’s rural communities and federal policies to address them. The mental health worker shortage “is crisis-level in a lot of communities,” says Konnie Martin, CEO of San Luis Valley Health in Alamosa, Colo., noting that there isn’t a single psychiatrist in her six-county region. Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah and Colorado are among the top 10 states for suicide, the publication notes.

Providence St. Joseph Health company offers population health services

Renton, Wash.-based Providence St. Joseph Health has launched a population health management company, Modern Healthcare reports. Ayin Health Solutions will leverage the health system’s experience to help payers, providers and government entities lower costs and improve care through a focus on population health, the publication said.

Aetna, others try new approach to educate doctors on alternatives to opioids 

Aetna recently partnered with a company called Alosa Health to bring pain treatment educators to physician offices in Pennsylvania, Maine, Illinois, Ohio and West Virginia — states hit hard by opioid overdose deaths, the Washington Post reports. The doctor drop-ins are modeled on those used by pharmaceutical sales representatives but target appropriate use of opioids and pain treatment alternatives. Kaiser Permanente and the Department of Veterans Affairs also use the approach, according to the report.

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