A professional, skilled behavioral health workforce is dependent upon the reliable delivery of the most effective, efficient and accessible service possible, directed toward consumer recovery. These key elements of a system of care are fundamental to the success of all behavioral system reform efforts. Great strides have been made in behavioral health care, but critical work remains toward workforce development. That continuing work, progress and necessary evolution is the guiding purpose of BHECN.
"Given the central role of the workforce in the prevention and treatment of substance use disorders and mental illnesses, there is a striking lack of reliable and uniform data with which to monitor, evaluate, and manage the workforce. Bits and pieces of information are available, but this information has been collected by many different organizations, each with its unique method for examining different variables, and with no consistency regarding the period of time under study. The data within employer organizations and states on their workforces and workforce practices also tend to be limited. Even if an organization has reliable data, there is an absence of benchmarks that it can use for purposes of comparison." -- Page 150 SAMSHA An Action Plan for Behavioral Health Workforce Development.
Much of the focus of the work that needs to be done involves the following issues:
- Recruitment and retention of more behavioral health professionals in Nebraska
- Monitoring workforce trends and establishing priorities for workforce development (including numbers, accessibility, and special competencies) by gathering reliable and valid data to inform workforce practices.
- Planning to address high priority competency needs such as cultural and linguistic competence issues, or recovery based service focus
- Establishing funding priorities in connection with critical workforce issues
- Promoting more uniform standards for credentialing and licensure
In recognition of this top priority of recruiting, educating and developing interprofessional behavioral health providers, BHECN has a strategic plan in place to collaborate with behavioral health partners who have historical, current and projected behavioral health data. Those data include geographic, demographic, recruitment, training, and retention workforce information and measurements. It is mission-critical that BHECN continue to develop reciprocal links with universities, colleges of public health, hospitals, law enforcement agencies, governmental and other community-based entities and consumers collecting and analyzing workforce data and findings.
"BHECN will facilitate the collection, analysis and dissemination of behavioral health workforce data and the prioritization of training and recruitment of behavioral health professional by type and region."