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Netsmart Technologies Software Supports Shawnee Mental Health Center Integrated Mental Health and Primary Care Initiative

GREAT RIVER, N.Y., Nov. 3, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Netsmart Technologies, Inc., a leading provider of software and services for health and human services organizations, announced that one if its mental health provider customers, Shawnee (Ohio) Mental Health Center, is achieving positive results from a mental health/primary care initiative that utilizes Netsmart's Avatar™ clinical and practice management software for the integrated service initiative.

Shawnee Mental Health Center, located in Portsmouth, Ohio, is a private, non-profit community mental health center that operates four outpatient clinics serving 5,200 adults and children each year in three Ohio counties.

More than 360 Shawnee Mental Health Center clients have received primary care services since the program's inception; Shawnee's goal is to serve more than 1,000 by the end of 2013. Positive outcomes include weight loss, increased exercise and reduced smoking in their client base, as well as discovery and treatment of previously undiagnosed illnesses such as elevated blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes.

"Our research showed that many of our clients did not have a regular primary care physician," said Don Thacker, executive director, Shawnee Mental Health Center. "In order to meet our goal of providing the highest level of care possible, we really wanted to do our part to help our clients lead longer, healthier lives."

A Netsmart customer since 1985, Shawnee now uses Netsmart's Avatar Clinician Workstation (CWS) solution, a comprehensive EHR for behavioral health that integrates the clinical tools necessary for an interdisciplinary approach to the delivery of care. They also use Netsmart's Avatar Practice Management (PM) software, a modular, customizable practice management software solution that efficiently manages scheduling, billing and treatment planning and other key processes.

Shawnee used Avatar's RADplus modeling feature to create forms to document a patient's vital signs and record all primary care services provided. A tracking report was also created with RADplus to allow the primary care staff to follow the patient's progress and outcomes over time. A care coordination letter is sent to a patient's primary care physician to inform them about the services provided by Shawnee to their patient.

"Our solutions enable the secure sharing of clinical information between mental health and primary care practitioners, which helps Shawnee Mental Health provide quality, fully-integrated care to their clients," said James L. Conway, chief executive officer, Netsmart Technologies. "As Shawnee Mental Health's technology partner, we're pleased to play a part in the success of this worthwhile, innovative project, which is having tangible positive results for the health of Shawnee's clients."

The Avatar software also lets Shawnee simplify and consolidate clinical, nursing and billing data both for primary care and mental health clients. Shawnee staff can also create and modify forms in the Avatar system; saving time and helping Shawnee maintain continuity and consistency in their processes.

The integrated care initiative was spurred in part by a study published in 2006 by the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors that indicated that, on average, people with severe mental illness die 25 years earlier than the general population. Many of the deaths are due to common conditions such as smoking-related diseases, obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

In response to this alarming trend, Shawnee Mental Health Center applied for and received a $500,000 four-year grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administrations (SAMHSA) to enhance a program that had been established earlier through a grant from The Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati to provide primary healthcare services to Shawnee Mental Health Center clients with severe mental illnesses.

In the first year of the program, Shawnee funded a nurse practitioner and a contract physician for consultation. Services included classes and programs in smoking cessation, wellness, nutrition, exercise and well-woman care. The program was later expanded to include an integrated care support staff member, three nurse care managers, three wellness coaches and a part-time nurse practitioner.

Future goals for the Shawnee Mental Health mental health-primary care program include adding two additional full-time nurse practitioners and a part-time physician. Shawnee is also preparing to qualify for Medicaid incentive funds for Meaningful Use of an EHR based on their use of Netsmart solutions.

"We're most proud that our clients have regular, consistent contact with mental and physical health care experts in whom they trust, and that we're seeing tangible results from this integrated program," said Thacker.

About Netsmart Technologies, Inc.

Netsmart Technologies is an established, leading supplier of enterprise software and software as a service (SaaS) solutions for health and human services providers. More than 18,000 customer organizations, including 350,000 care providers and 40 state systems, use Netsmart products to help improve the quality of life for millions of people each year.

Netsmart customers include mental health and substance abuse treatment agencies, psychiatric hospitals, private and group mental health practices, public health departments, vital records offices and managed care organizations. Netsmart's products are full-featured information systems that operate on a variety of operating systems, hardware platforms, and mobile devices, and offer unlimited scalability.

Netsmart provides expertise and solutions that help its customers meet all the criteria for "meaningful use" of an Electronic Health Record (EHR) under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. These include experience in electronic health record certification, the InfoScriber™ e-prescribing service, the Netsmart CareConnect™ service that will enable the sharing of clinical information through health information exchanges, the Netsmart ConsumerConnect™ Web portal to provide consumer access to their care information, and a flexible platform to capture and share outcomes data.

Netsmart customers can utilize Netsmart solutions to meet all Stage 1 Meaningful Use criteria, avoiding the costly and time-consuming process of integrating solutions from multiple vendors. Netsmart's Avatar™ 2011 software recently completed the first phase of Certificate of EHR Compliance for Stage 1 Meaningful Use criteria.

Netsmart's Connected Care initiative allows behavioral and public healthcare providers to share clinical data electronically within their internal processes, externally with other providers, and with consumers via a Web-based portal, enabling high quality, consumer-directed care.

For information about Netsmart Technologies' full range of solutions for health and human services organizations, visit or call 1-800-472-5509.

This EHR Module (Avatar 2011) is 2011/2012 compliant and has been certified by the Drummond Group (an ONC-ATCB) in accordance with the applicable certification criteria adopted by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. This certification does not represent an endorsement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or guarantee the receipt of incentive payments.

Avatar, InfoScriber, Netsmart CareConnect and Netsmart ConsumerConnect are trademarks of Netsmart Technologies, Inc.

SOURCE Netsmart Technologies, Inc.
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