Statewide Partnership Between Blue Cross, Providers Seeks to Prevent Suicide

Amy Barczy

| 3 min read

Amy Barczy is a former brand journalist who authored content at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Prior to her time at Blue Cross from 2019-2024, she was a statewide news reporter for MLive.com. She has a decade of storytelling experience in local news media markets including Lansing, Grand Rapids, Holland, Ann Arbor and Port Huron.

About 80% of people who die by suicide had a health care visit in the months leading up to their death, according to a systematic review of scientific studies conducted on the topic. 
“People are right in front of us as health care providers in the days and weeks leading up to a suicide,” said Dr. Brian Ahmedani, director for the Center for Health Policy and Health Services Research at Henry Ford Health. “We have an opportunity to do something about that.” 
This puts health care providers in the unique position to intervene.
A growing group of health care providers in Michigan are working together in a new partnership to make a difference for patients. Health care providers across the state are working with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Henry Ford Health to implement evidence-based suicide prevention practices to improve access to behavioral health services for patients.
This new partnership began in 2022 to prevent suicide and improve outcomes for patients by reducing suicide attempts and deaths. It’s called the Michigan Mental Health Innovation Network and Clinical Design (MI Mind) and is the first statewide initiative of its kind in which behavioral health and primary care providers across Michigan are collaborating to improve access to suicide prevention practices. Starting its second year, MI Mind has engaged over 530 providers, both behavioral health and primary care practices across Michigan, in MI Mind’s suicide prevention activities.
The program uses Henry Ford Health’s nationally recognized “zero-suicide” model for health care providers to train in suicide prevention protocols. It’s a safety net for people considering suicide. Primary care providers are trained to screen for suicide risk at every visit, and to work collaboratively with behavioral health professionals to ensure patients get the care they need. Blue Cross supports this program by helping primary care, specialty care and hospitals to work collaboratively, including providing resources for data collection and analysis, as well as coordinating participants on best practices. 
“We believe that we have an opportunity to prevent every single suicide. In this program we’ve implemented suicide risk screening, assessment and treatment, evidence-based, within health care systems,” Ahmedani said. “Within our health care system, we saw a 70% to 80% reduction in our suicide rate. Even though we may never get to zero, the only acceptable goal is to strive for zero.”
MI Mind is one of many Blue Cross-supported Collaborative Quality Initiatives (CQIs), providing opportunities for our provider partners to collaborate and engage in clinically meaningful quality improvement. Blue Cross CQIs address many of the most common, costly and complex areas of surgical and medical care in Michigan.
The CQI platform enables health systems, hospitals and physicians to work in a collaborative environment, providing resources for data collection, analysis and reporting, along with sharing and learning best practices, thereby empowering providers to improve quality of care for our members and Michigan residents. The CQI model has been referred to as a national model for implementation of clinical quality improvement and an extraordinary model of how payers and providers collaborate to improve patient care. 

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