Kevin Allen

Nation’s Largest County Mental Health System Launches Tech-Enabled Holistic Care Initiative

Integrated model will serve San Fernando and 6 other Los Angeles County locations

Overland Park, Kan., Sept. 15, 2015 – The Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (LACDMH) and Tarzana Treatment Centers, Inc. (TTC) have launched a groundbreaking initiative that allows behavioral health clinicians and primary care physicians to safely and securely share vital, authorized client and patient data in real time – often at co-located facilities – to treat the mind and body.

The program is a component of the county’s Health Neighborhoods project, which recognizes that multi-agency change models are most effective at improving population-level health and wellness outcomes.

In this new integrated care initiative, behavioral health clinicians at LACDMH’s San Fernando Mental Health Center (SFMHC) will have access to electronic health record (EHR) data about TTC’s clients’ co-occurring physical health conditions and medications. Likewise, TTC will receive EHR data from SFMHC. According to data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), as many as 70% of patients with severe mental illnesses served by the public mental system have co-morbid medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, asthma and COPD. Behavioral health clinicians are an integral part of “whole person” care, and need access to complete information to make informed treatment decisions.

In addition, primary care clinicians will have access to authorized EHR-based behavioral health and addiction treatment information, providing a more complete view of the person’s overall health status.

“By breaking down the silos that exist between mental health, physical health and addiction treatment services, we can reach our goal of improving the full health and well-being of our residents,” said Robin C. Kay, Ph.D., chief deputy director for the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health.

All data is exchanged electronically between TTC and LACDMH in a protected manner in a standard CCD (Continuity of Care Document). However, the system also allows for inclusion of a patient narrative, giving clinicians the ability to communicate even more context than the structured data communicated in the CCD.

The data exchange and integration is facilitated by the Netsmart CareConnect™ care coordination solution, and includes the ability for the providers to do in-depth referrals for improved continuity of care, conduct ongoing treatment monitoring, and receive emergency alerts for situations such as a failure to take prescribed medications.

“Netsmart is excited to partner with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health and Tarzana to enable holistic health and wellness by effective data sharing and transition of care among all providers,” said Netsmart CEO Mike Valentine. “This care coordination initiative is designed to improve outcomes,

reduce health-related costs and more deeply engage consumers.”

Both LACDMH and TTC have long-utilized Netsmart’s myAvatar™ CareRecord™ (electronic health record). Netsmart is also LACDMH’s technology partner for IBHIS, the county’s comprehensive behavioral health clinical, administrative and financial information system.

TTC is offering primary care services at the SFMHC twice weekly to enable real-time treatment of mind and body. In addition, 24/7 referrals have been enabled from SFMHC to other services, including TTC’s substance use disorder treatment services. TTC operates seven primary care clinics which are also linked to SFMHC via CareConnect.

“You can’t properly address someone’s mental health if they’re not physically well,” explained Albert Senella, CEO and President of Tarzana Treatment Centers. “Likewise, mental health is directly linked to effectively managing physical wellness.”

The integrated care program is made possible by a Primary and Behavioral Health Care Integration (PBHCI) grant from SAMHSA. The objective of the PBHCI grant is to enhance the consumer experience of care (including quality, access, and reliability) while reducing/controlling the per capital cost of care. Results – including symptoms reduction, patient engagement rates, and costs of care – are being tracked in the Netsmart CareRecord™ and will be reported to SAMHSA twice a year.


The Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health is the largest county-operated mental health department in the United States, directly operating programs in more than 85 sites, and providing services via contract programs and DMH staff at approximately 300 sites many of which are co-located with other County departments, schools, courts and other organizations.  Each year, the County contracts with more than 1,000 organizations and individual practitioners to provide a variety of mental health-related services.  

On average, more than 250,000 County residents of all ages are served every year.  The Department’s mission -- enriching lives through partnership to strengthen our community’s capacity to support recovery and resiliency – is accomplished by working with stakeholders and community partners to provide clinically competent, culturally sensitive and linguistically appropriate mental health services to clients in the least restrictive setting.

About Tarzana Treatment Centers, Inc.

Tarzana Treatment Centers, Inc. is a full-service behavioral healthcare organization that provides high quality, cost-effective substance abuse and mental health treatment to adults and youth. We are a non-profit, community-based organization that operates a psychiatric hospital, residential and outpatient alcohol and drug treatment centers and family medical clinics. All facilities are licensed and certified by the State of California and the County of Los Angeles and are accredited by the Joint Commission. Since 1972, we have provided a comprehensive continuum of healthcare services.

About Netsmart

Netsmart is healthcare’s largest post-acute electronic health record (EHR) provider, and is committed to helping health and human services providers deliver coordinated, integrated, outcomes-based services and care. Netsmart serves more than 20,000 clients across all 50 states, resulting in approximately 450,000 users of its software and technology solutions. Netsmart clients include mental health and addiction services agencies, health homes, psychiatric hospitals, private and group mental health practices, public health departments, social services and child and family services agencies, managed care organizations, and vital records offices.

Netsmart’s CareFabric™, a framework of innovative clinical and business solutions and services, supports integrated, coordinated delivery of health services across the spectrum of care.

Netsmart’s HIT Value Model™, a vendor-agnostic planning and measurement system, provides a path for health and human services organizations to evaluate where on the healthcare IT spectrum they should focus their efforts, the value associated with that strategic decision and a comparison with peer organizations nationwide.

Netsmart is pleased to support the EveryDay Matters Foundation, which was established for behavioral and public health organizations to learn from each other and share their causes and stories. For more information, visit

Learn more about how Netsmart is changing the face of healthcare today. Visit, call 1-800-472-5509, follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter, like us on Facebook or visit us on YouTube

CareConnect, myAvatar, CareRecord, CareFabric and HIT Value Model are trademarks of Netsmart Technologies, Inc.

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