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Thank You Optum Pierce County BHO





Thank You Optum Pierce County BHO

The great British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli once said “Change is inevitable.  Change is constant.”  This is so true today.  Change is a constant for behavioral health care services here in Pierce County.

One change brought us Optum Pierce Behavioral Health Organization (BHO).  For the past several years, Washington has contracted with Optum Pierce BHO to provide behavioral health crisis services for Pierce County residents and to partner with providers to offer mental health and substance use disorders services, programs, and resources to Pierce County’s 226,000 residents covered by Medicaid.  

Optum and its employees have helped bring positive behavioral health care change to Pierce County.  Some examples are:

  • More Medicaid eligible individuals received mental health and substance use disorder treatment.
  • Innovative diversion programs got people behavioral health treatment and kept them out of our emergency rooms, jails, and state psychiatric hospitals.
  • Pioneered the employment of certified peer specialists with lived experiences with mental health or substance use disorder.
  • Very different mental health care and substance use disorder treatment systems were successfully integrated into one behavioral health care system.

The next stage of Washington’s health care integration will bring another change on December 31.  Behavioral health and physical health care under Medicaid will be integrated.  Optum Pierce BHO will cease existence as one part of that change.  Four managed care organizations will provide the Medicaid services starting January 1.  A new administrative service organization will provide our crisis services.

As the curtain falls on Optum Pierce BHO, NAMI Pierce County and its members wish to thank Optum and its dedicated employees for their positive impact on Pierce County mental health care.  We wish Bea Dixon, Kate Naeseth, Michael Hardie, and all our other Optum friends the best wishes and much success as they continue their careers elsewhere.  Thank you for helping some many Pierce County residents.

Who knows what change will bring next.

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