The Intersection of Transformation and Quality in Mental Health Treatment: Implementing the California Learning Collaborativeedit
Recent initiative and reports from the Institute of Medicine and the President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health focused on how the quality of care in the United States should be improved for healthy mental health and substance use conditions. Change strategies addressing these areas share a common theme—they all require a quality improvement infrastructure that integrates the planning of system changes with implementation and methods to monitor the changes. This paper describes a pilot initiative in California that attempts to address these concerns by implementing formal quality improvement strategies to accelerate transformative change in public mental health systems and builds on the opportunity that arose with the newly established Mental Healthy Services Act. Eight California county mental health agencies participated in a two-year learning collaborative (CLC) designed to improve their quality improvement infrastructure in the areas of project management, measurement of progress and outcomes, and proactive planning for the dissemination of innovation. The background, objectives, and implementation activities of the CLC are discussed as well as preliminary challenges and evaluation strategies.