Pa. competing for federal grant to remake slice of health care world

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Apr 6, 2016 3:17 PM

(Reading) -- Pennsylvania is competing with 23 other states for a federal grant that will push health care into the future.

A midstate group - Berks Counseling Center - is part of the state's application.

It's one of 16 that's been selected to work with the state on the final submission to the federal government.

It provides services for people with behavioral health issues.

CEO Fran Malley says in recent years, it's hired a doctor, provided physical exams for every client, and has worked to move away from a fee-for-service model.

"It's one fee for this, one fee for the other, one for the other, can't do two things in one day, have to come back for something else. It's very disjointed. We know the fee-for-service system does not work well," says Malley.

Malley says by moving to a more comprehensive model, clients are more likely to achieve success.

She says many have physical issues as well that could be contributing to their behavioral health struggles.

"It'll make it easier and more coordinated with the care, in that they can be receiving whatever services they need, and we don't have all of these siloed kind of billing segments that we have now."

The state will put together its application by mid-October.

Regulators are then expected to decide if Pennsylvania will participate in a pilot program.

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