Special Projects Fund

Project Title

Introducing Fast-Track Outcome Assessments to New York’s Mental Health Clinics

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Special Projects Fund

Date Awarded

December 4, 2013








Mental health clinics—which offer accessible treatment to poor and moderate-income patients, including those with limited health insurance coverage—are often the first intervention for New Yorkers with mental illness.

The State’s mental health system is facing a period of substantial change as Article 31 mental health clinics become solely dependent on managed care organizations for payment. Consequently, mental health clinics that have traditionally focused on measuring the quantity of services, will now be required to change their reporting from output to evidence-based practices, which rely on validated tools to assess outcomes and efficacy. However, experts believe that this transition must be coupled with data-informed quality improvement to ensure its effective implementation in the mental health care system. NYHealth awarded a grant to New York University’s McSilver Institute for Social Work to strengthen the capacity of mental health clinics, improve care quality, and reduce costs through evidence-based practices, quality improvement, and performance metrics.

Under this grant, McSilver engaged with 100 of New York State’s 496 Article 31 mental health clinics in training activities and provided all of the State’s mental health clinics with searchable databases and performance measurement tools. McSilver also helped clinics identify and disseminate best practices and conducted Web-based training to familiarize them with databases and measurement tools. Lastly, a one-year performance improvement network was established to provide additional support. McSilver aimed to help participating mental health clinics enhance their capacity to perform quality assessments based on the outcome data and improve the quality of mental health care while simultaneously lowering costs.