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Enhancing Mental Health Clinics’ Ability to Provide Quality Care

  • By: NYSHealth
  • Date: April 2017
  • Priority Area: Special Projects Fund
  • Type: Grant Outcome Reports
  • Category: Grant Outcome Report
  • Grantee Name: New York University McSilver Institute for Poverty, Policy, and Research


Mental health clinics are often the first intervention for New Yorkers with mental illness—offering accessible treatment to low- and moderate-income patients and those with limited health insurance coverage. With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the Mental Health Parity Act, New York State’s mental health clinics became solely dependent on managed care organizations for payment. Consequently, mental health clinics were expected to move toward a value-based payment system, which relies on evidence-based practices and validated tools that assess efficacy and outcomes. To ensure effective implementation of this transition, NYSHealth awarded a grant to New York University’s McSilver Institute for Social Work (McSilver) in 2013. Through this grant, McSilver aimed to equip mental health organizations in New York State with effective tools to assess clinical processes and outcomes, thereby improving the quality of mental health care and reducing costs.

Grantee: McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research at the New York University Silver School of Social Work

Dates: October 2013 – March 2016

Grant Amount: $317,610

Grantee Website:

Grant ID: 13-02001

Outcomes and Lessons Learned:

  • Created a database of clinical treatment measures that can be used to diagnose and screen for a behavioral health condition or to monitor treatment progress;
  • Generated considerable interest in and use of the database among mental health clinics and behavioral health agencies statewide;
  • Assessed the capacity of the State’s mental health clinics and behavioral health agencies to manage and evaluate utilization and outcomes data; and
  • Developed a set of standardized reports that agencies can use to quickly and accurately get a breakdown of their clientele, types of services provided (generally and specific to each diagnosis), and types of insurance received.

By the close of the grant period, the project became fully sustainable. Sustainability was achieved through a broad dissemination of the standardized reports; maintenance of and improvements to the database; and integration of the project’s findings and new tools to the network of organizations that received technical assistance from McSilver. In addition to the grant’s impact on behavioral health agencies, policymakers are now equipped with a model for developing meaningful outcomes metrics and moving toward a value-based payment system.

Co-Funding and Additional Funds Leveraged: N/A