Devin Brooks, the 28-year-old CEO of Brooks Behavioral Healthcare Center, is working to change the way the state handles Managed Healthcare Organizations. The organizations were created in an attempt to streamline services the government provides, Brooks explained, but the result has been to keep new providers from entering the system.
Brooks has been talking with the governor and legislators about developing a way for providers like the Brooks Behavioral Healthcare Center to enter the system. He said the system lacks transparency and capable providers are being prevented from delivering services Medicaid patients need and want.
What motivated you to take on these major issues in the healthcare industry?
One of the main issues is the opportunity to help recipients and providers; (I’m) really kind of acting as advocate for them. There’s a lot of recipients that are being affected by some of the decisions being made on behalf of the state; it also affects the providers as well as the recipients.
What are the services offered at Brooks Behavioral Healthcare Center?
You can meet with a psychiatrist … nurse practitioners … a general physician for medical services. We provide outpatient therapy services where you can receive (help with) anything (from) dealing with (psychiatric) evaluations (to) … individual therapy, family therapy (and) group therapy. We offer everything from case management to rehabilitative services. We really try to take a different approach in regard to full wraparound services. We want to focus on the mental aspect and the physical aspect because we’ve found a correlation between the two.
What are some of the biggest challenges faced by your clientele at Brooks Behavioral Healthcare Center?
The number one issue I have … (is) to help those who might need jobs and those who are looking for services. … MCO’s, Managed Care Organizations, which is a Medicaid provider, don’t allow for myself … physicians … dentists … whomever it may be trying to (become) affiliated, part of their network. They won’t allow us to participate in the network or they make it very difficult or they give very vague answers as to why we’re not able to join the network.
What kind of solutions have you offered to the governor and the legislature that you feel can help address these issues?
I think the first issue we have to address is a monopoly. There’s no way that we can put ourselves in a position where the state is contracting out with organizations (that) won’t allow additional providers to come in to assist them. Due to the healthcare reform, there was an expansion with Medicaid for over 100,000 new recipients. We were excited about this process because we thought we would be able to help and assist those additional 100,000 people.
Unfortunately, what ended up happening was as soon as they became Medicaid recipients, they were automatically enrolled into MCO’s so it automatically eliminated opportunity for those providers who were not affiliated with the networks. The state agreed that the MCO’s would automatically have these people placed into MCO’s. I definitely feel they should make it a little bit more transparent for those who are professionals or who are certified with the state to be affiliated or a part of the network.
Or what I would like to try to see, on my behalf, is an opportunity for us to create our own network; for us to go in and create a situation where we could have our own contract with the state. There’s billions of dollars that come in with these contracts. With the managed care organizations, it’s one of the highest paid contracts in the state. So I definitely feel like there’s an opportunity for other people who can come in and assist the state as well so it shouldn’t be limited to just one or two MCO’s.