The Rethinking Care Program (RCP), an initiative of the Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) made possible by Kaiser Permanente, was created to find ways to improve the quality and lower the costs of care for high-need, high-cost Medicaid beneficiaries. In 2009, the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare (DPW) in partnership with CHCS launched two regional pilot projects under this initiative, focusing on the integration of physical and behavioral health care services for adult Medicaid beneficiaries with serious mental illness (SMI) and co-occurring physical health conditions. The Pennsylvania pilots, collectively referred to as the SMI Innovations Project, were designed to test various approaches to addressing this elusive challenge.

This brief describes the two-year pilot programs in Southeast and Southwest Pennsylvania and presents preliminary findings based on an analysis of key informant interviews and performance measures. It provides early lessons for states and Medicaid health plans interested in implementing similar programs. Final evaluation results for the project, including outcome and utilization data, will be released in mid-2012.