The Best Practices Clearinghouse for Local Mental Health Authorities (The Best Practices Clearinghouse for Mental Health Systems) was established by the 80th Legislature in House Bill 2439, which amends the Texas Health and Safety Code to add a new Section 533.0357. The new language directs DSHS, in coordination with local mental health authorities (LMHAs), to establish an online clearinghouse of information relating to best practices of local mental health authorities regarding the provision of mental health services, development of a local provider network, and achievement of the best return on public investment in mental health services.
Specifically, the legislation requires DSHS to solicit and collect from LMHAs that meet established outcome and performance measures, community centers, consumers and advocates with expertise in mental health or in the provision of mental health services, and other local entities concerned with mental health issues examples of best practices related to:
- Developing and implementing a local network development plan
- Assembling and expanding a local provider network to increase consumer choice;
- Creating and enforcing performance standards for providers
- Managing limited resources
- Maximizing available funding
- Producing the best client outcomes (including a full life and recovery)
- Ensuring consumers of mental health services understand and have control over decisions regarding their health;
- Developing procurement processes to protect public funds;
- Achieving the best mental health consumer outcomes possible; and
- Implementing strategies that effectively incorporate consumer and family involvement to develop and evaluate the provider network.
The primary purpose of the Clearinghouse is to provide Local Mental Health Authorities (LMHAs) with information about practical approaches for improvement that have demonstrated effectiveness, with emphasis on practices that are working in Texas. The Clearinghouse, which will include best practices from a variety of sources, will be an open resource available to other providers and stakeholders.
The Clearinghouse uses the following definition for a best practice:
A best practice is a process, strategy, program, or other intervention that has demonstrated a positive result through empirical research or practical investigation.
Practical investigation is a process that identifies an objective, determines and implements an intervention, and evaluates the results. Data collection and analysis is an essential component of practical investigation.