What They’re Watching: John Petrila, Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute

John Petrila is Vice President of Adult Policy at Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute. He joins us in this edition of “What They’re Watching” to talk about treating mental health as a population health issue.

“One thing we’re looking at, and in Dallas we’ve got a project where I think we’re getting close to helping with this particular issue, is treating mental illness as a population health issue. And so for a long time, mental health care was sort of a side show. Mental illness was funded differently, treated differently, what have you. Those walls have clearly begun to break down. One area where these ideas are really playing out is in Dallas. We’re working closely with the Dallas Fort-Worth Hospital Council Foundation and with the local Mental Health Authority. And both of those entities have permitted their data on patient care to be provided to an analytic company to do data feeds when someone in a high-risk population shows up in an ER, shows up in the jail, what have you. And what that then also begins to do is knit together the primary care system with the ambulatory mental health care system. And historically, in terms of what happens in either system, you’re blind to that. And so what the Dallas Fort-Worth Hospital Council Foundation is enabling us to do is really for one of the first times I’ve seen in a big urban setting, have providers in the ambulatory care system, providers in the primary general hospital system, understand what’s going on with the same folks regardless of where they are. And that can have a big impact on quick response to care, re-admission patterns, community care, it’s a very exciting initiative that I think captures a lot of the ideas about integrated care, the use of data, and the use of technology.”