South Jersey Behavioral Health Innovation Collaborative (SJBHIC)

South Jersey Behavioral Health Innovation Collaborative

Major health systems shifting toward patient-centered care

South Jersey Behavioral Health Innovation Collaborative (SJBHIC) is a partnership between five health systems in South Jersey. The Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers serves as the backbone organization for the Collaborative, supporting the health systems’ mission with a data-driven approach. Founded in 2014, the Collaborative aims to improve the quality, accessibility, capacity, and coordination of behavioral health services for all residents in the region.

The current behavioral health system is not fully meeting the needs of patients in New Jersey, where more than 240,000 adults live with a severe mental illness and a growing number of adults require treatment for substance use disorder. Behavioral health, which encompasses both mental illness and substance use disorder, has long been thought of separately from healthcare and social services, a perception reinforced by payment models that often do not reward care in appropriate settings. Data from the Collaborative’s Regional Behavioral Health Dashboard show that the number of individuals who visited emergency departments with primary behavioral health diagnoses in the region increased about 40 percent from 2010 to 2016.

To address these challenges, the health systems have joined together to invest in data integration, stakeholder engagement, and innovative service delivery models with the goal of shifting the system toward patient-centered care. The health systems in the South Jersey Behavioral Health Innovation Collaborative are Cooper University Healthcare, Inspira Health Network, Jefferson Health New Jersey, Lourdes Health System, and Virtua.

In 2017, four county behavioral health screening centers — Cumberland County Guidance Center, Legacy Treatment Services, NewPoint Behavioral Health, and Oaks Integrated Care — joined the steering committee of the Collaborative to develop innovations to the region’s behavioral health system.