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Over the next several months, ABHW will be spotlighting member companies for the Perspectives section of the website. Interviews conducted with ABHW’s members will highlight programs and initiatives they are offering; preparations underway for the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA); and other current topics of interest.

For the December piece, ABHW interviewed Christopher Dennis, MD, MBA from ValueOptions.
Christopher Dennis, MD, MBA, serves as Chief Medical Officer, Commercial Division and Senior Vice President, Regional Medical Director at ValueOptions®. He oversees Commercial Division medical operations, as well as the New York City Service Center’s medical operations: medical affairs, care management and quality assurance. Additionally, he is also responsible for the medical operations management of the company’s Great Lakes Service center in Wixom, Michigan and Troy, New York. He is focused on achieving operational efficiencies and improving the company’s clinical offerings to continue providing exceptional service to clients and members of ValueOptions®.

How do you foresee ValueOptions ® accomplishing the goals set forth by the ACA?   What do you think the biggest challenges are for MHBOs as we move forward with the ACA?

Health care reform will assist the public in receiving adequate behavioral health treatment. Due to the individual mandate, Medicaid expansion and lifted limits on pre-existing conditions, an influx of uninsured, underinsured or undertreated population will now be eligible for treatment.  Many of the newly insured will have some sort of behavioral pathology and ValueOptions ® will be instrumental in creating and managing treatment options.  With regard to the dual eligible population (i.e., those individuals receiving both Medicaid and Medicare funding), ValueOptions ® has created a new pilot in Massachusetts to better manage treatment.

We see challenges with regard to educating individuals about their new treatment options and to ensure that they sign up for the new available services.  Given the new demand for mental health treatment options, ValueOptions ® is a leader in innovation and treatment options. For example, ValueOptions ® just launched a new telemedicine initiative which will offer easier access for individuals to receive treatment.


Speaking of challenges, wellness is an important issue for ABHW and its member companies and December can be a tough time for people, often increasing stress anxiety and depression.  Are there any tips that ValueOptions ® offers to help people through the holidays?

 ‘Tis the season to be jolly—and stressed out! For many, increased demands and expectations during the holidays can be overwhelming. Rather than being a time of joy and celebration, many homes are filled with tension, conflict and disappointment.

Several factors contribute to the onset of anxiety, depression and excessive indulgence at this time of year. Most of us begin establishing expectations for the holidays during childhood. What was once a magical and exciting time of year can turn into a dreaded annual chore if we carry unrealistic childlike expectations into adulthood. We may feel responsible for creating the perfect holiday season for our loved ones only to feel guilty or inadequate when we do not succeed.

Commercialism and media hype place pressure on us to over-consume which burdens us with consumer debt, additional weight and emotional fatigue—all which we must try to rid ourselves of after the holidays.

The intense social and cultural pressure to experience nothing but bliss every holiday season becomes particularly painful for those suffering a loss in their lives—whether through death, divorce, job termination or serious health problems. Participating in holiday activities can make painful emotions and memories surface, serving as a sad reminder that someone or something is missing.

It is often difficult enough to meet the challenges of our daily responsibilities, let alone cope with the extra demands of time, energy and money associated with the holidays.

There are ways to manage these seasonal stressors without canceling the holiday season altogether! Here are a few suggestions:

One gift you can give yourself is the gift of physical and emotional health. Although this is not such an easy thing to do during this time of year, ValueOptions strives to assist.


Does ValueOptions ® post anything on the website such as published resources for the members or EAP services?

ValueOptions ® has an award-winning non-public website, AchieveSolutions that is for the exclusive use of our clients and which includes resources as above.








Behavioral health is complex. Untreated behavioral health conditions, including both mental health and substance use disorders, have a significant impact on individuals, families, friends, and employers. Individuals with mental health conditions and/or substance use disorders need access to evidence-based services - the care that, based on scientific research, has been shown to...


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June 26, 2017 ABHW Letter in Support of the Nomination of Elinore F. McCance-Katz, MD, PhD, for Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance.

ABHW Letter to Chairman Hatch on Health Care Reform Process in the Senate (May 23, 2017)

ABHW Press Release: ABHW Issues Statement in Wake of House Passage of AHCA (May 4, 2017)

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ABHW Press Release: ABHW Welcomes White House Commission on Opioids (March 30, 2017)

ABHW Press Release to House Leadership Over AHCA Concerns (March 23, 2017)

ABHW Comment Letter to House Leadership on ACHA (March 22, 2017)

ABHW Press Release on Confirmation of New HHS Secretary Price and CMS Administrator Verma (March 17, 2017)

ABHW Comment Letter to Rep Murphy (March 10, 2017)

ABHW Comment Letter on Market Stabilization Prop Rule (March 8, 2017)

ABHW Press Release on SNPRM Part 2 Comment Letter (February 17, 2017)

ABHW SNPRM Comment Letter to SAMHSA on Confidentiality (February 17, 2017)

ABHW Summary of 42 CFR Part 2 Final Rule and SNPRM (February 1, 2017)

ABHW Paper - Behavioral Health Organizations Current and Future Approaches to Addressing the U.S. Opioid Crisis (May 2016)

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ABHW and Diverse List of Health Care Stakeholders Letter to House Leadership calling attention to the importance of amending 42 CFR Part 2 (May 10, 2016)

ABHW Interview on 42 CFR Part 2 (April 27, 2016)

ABHW Editorial on 42 CFR Part 2 (April 11, 2016)

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ABHW Paper: on 42 CFR Part 2 - Now is the Time to Strengthen Protection of Substance Use Records by Revisiting the Substance Use Privacy Law (December 21, 2015)

ABHW Press Release: on 42 CFR Part 2 - All ABHW Wants for Christmas are Changes to the Substance Use Privacy Law (December 21, 2015)

ABHW Paper: on Healthcare Integration in the Era of the Affordable Care Act (August 5, 2015)

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ABHW Press Release: on the Institute of Medicine (IOM) report on Psychosocial Interventions for Mental and Substance Use Disorders (July 14, 2015)

ABHW Comments on SAMHSA’s Peer Core Competencies: ABHW is pleased to see a comprehensive list of essential core competencies required by peer providers. (May 21, 2015)

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