Best Practices Clearinghouse for Mental Health Systems Clearinghouse Solicitation Notice

DSHS is seeking submissions to the Best Practices Clearinghouse for Local Mental Health Authorities (Clearinghouse). 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 effective practices from a variety of sources, will be an open resource available to other providers and stakeholders. Additional information is available at

In a clinical context, the term “best practice” often refers to a practice with clear evidence of its efficacy obtained through a formal research or evaluation. This Clearinghouse uses a different standard that includes effective working solutions that have demonstrated effectiveness through implementation.

The Clearinghouse uses the following definition for a “best practice”, which is really an effective working solution:

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.

Two method of identifying potential best practices are available.

Best practice submissions in any category are welcome, but priority is being placed on practices related to Local Planning and Network Development (LPND). The following list provides some sample topics in this area.

  1. Developing and implementing a local network development plan
    1. Educating stakeholders about network development
    2. Engaging stakeholders in the planning process
    3. Obtaining stakeholder comment on draft plans
  2. Protecting critical infrastructure (ensuring service delivery is not significantly disrupted during transition to external providers)
  3. Operating provider networks
    1. Providing consumer support in a network environment
      1. Managing Prescription Assistance Programs
      2. Conducting financial eligibility and Medicaid enrollment
      3. Collecting fees
    2. Conducting care coordination and case management in a network environment
  4. Developing procurement processes to protect public funds
    1. Developing procurement documents (RFPs and RFAs)
    2. Evaluating and selecting applicants
    3. Negotiating terms and conditions
    4. Developing contracts
    5. Credentialing providers
    6. Conducting readiness reviews
  5. Creating and enforcing performance standards for providers
    1. Establishing performance standards and measures
    2. Provider training and education
    3. Developing provider profiles
    4. Establishing effective provider relations systems
    5. Processes for communication and problem-solving
    6. Provider complaints and appeals processes
  6. Managing the provider network
    1. Developing internal capacity for network management
      1. Training staff
      2. Creating claims management systems
      3. Establishing systems and procedures for data collection in a network environment
    2. Managing contracts
      1. Authorizing services
      2. Managing utilization
      3. Managing finances and risk
  7. Implementing strategies that effectively incorporate consumer and family involvement to develop and evaluate the provider network
    1. Supporting informed consumer decision-making
      1. Helping consumers identify the outcomes they want to achieve and appropriate services to help them achieve their objectives
      2. Providing consumers with information about providers and supporting informed choice
    2. Involving consumers and family members in procurement
    3. Involving consumers and family members in monitoring and evaluating internal and external provider performance

DSHS looks forward to identifying and recognizing LMHAs and other organizations who demonstrate effective practices.

For submissions, comments or questions, please contact DSHS staff at the Best Practices Clearinghouse for Mental Health Systems at

Last updated October 5, 2010