How we help

TriWest’s practical solutions, talented team, and collegial approach helped me to develop a strategy for our Board, which was the backbone of Board planning, and remains operational today.

-Danna Mauch, President and CEO, Massachusetts Association for Mental Health

Our approach

We understand health and human service systems because we’ve devoted our careers to direct care, evaluation, administration, teaching, and research in provider, government, and university settings. Our consultation services emphasize collaboration with the multiple stakeholders needed to provide services that help children, families, adults, and communities achieve their goals.

Our approach to consultation and evaluation is based on these core principles:

Credibility

We make sure findings and recommendations are practical and understandable for stakeholders: consumers, family members, program managers, legislators, administrators, researchers, and other community members. At the same time, we identify “ideal” solutions to work towards.

Diversity

Because the communities and clients we serve are diverse, our team includes people who are gender sensitive and have diverse cultural backgrounds, educational and professional credentials, and language proficiencies.

Minimal Burden

We design our work to help, not interfere with, the day-to-day functions of health and human services programs. We act as partners and always respect the important and ongoing work of the organizations we serve.

Quality

We employ rigorous methods and multilevel peer review to provide products that are high in quality and utility.

Stakeholder Involvement

Our work depends on stakeholder involvement at multiple levels. We respect and integrate local values and system needs while providing information and strategies to achieve the best outcomes.

Value-Driven Consultation

We believe that service delivery, evaluation, and consultation benefit from openness, compassion, humility, humor, and flexibility.

Our services

TriWest can help negotiate the challenges of rising expectations, limited resources, and evolving evidence about what works. Below is a list of some of our services. If you don’t see a service you need, contact us. If we can’t help, we may know someone who can.

Behavioral Health System Assessment & Redesign

We conduct assessments of behavioral health systems (providers, counties, regions, states) that help our clients redesign the array of services to support effective community-based care, including integrated physical and behavioral health care. We focus on evidence-based practices that have proven outcomes and provide practical plans to make step-wise improvements. We have completed assessments for states, large urban and rural counties, and school districts, working with planners and providers to improve the quality and array of their service delivery systems. We specialize in designing systems of care for children and youth with serious behavioral health challenges and their families; effective crisis services models for people of all ages; and robust community and inpatient service arrays for adults with serious mental health, substance use, and co-occurring conditions. Our implementation plans include financing and quality of care strategies.

Data Analysis & Visualization

We have the infrastructure and experience to work with large statewide person-level data sets, including all payer claims data, Medicaid claims and encounters, hospital discharge records, and child welfare SACWIS data. We regularly generate customized population estimates using American Community Survey PUMS data and prevalence estimates based on the National Survey on Drug Use and Health and other sources. We also frequently work with smaller propriety data, everything from electronic health records for community mental health center patients to the location of mental health related 911 calls.

Data analysis approaches vary from basic descriptive and inferential statistical presentations, to quasi experimental estimates of effect size, to geographic information system maps used to identify geographic gaps in care. We have experience with analysis techniques, including matching algorithms such as coarsened exact matching, imputation of missing values, and estimates of treatment effects for treated and untreated populations. We display data using static and interactive maps, infographics, and dashboards.

Our qualitative analysis team has years of experience in survey design and distribution, focus groups, interviewing, and other techniques. We have been on site with case workers, administrators, teachers, healthcare specialists, and families, among others, throughout the country. We have convened stakeholder meetings, steering committees, and workgroups to inform our analysis and provide clients with meaningful and targeted feedback. Above all, we can customize our approaches to the size, objectives, and limitations of projects, ensuring that deliverables are data-driven and useful.

Management Consulting & Strategic Planning

We help health and human service organizations improve their performance by providing independent analysis of structures, operations, and approaches to quality management and improvement. Our recent clients include five regional service networks that merged into a single behavioral health managed care organization and a state department of mental health that transitioned from providing direct care to assuming policy and oversight functions.

Policy Analysis

We have experience in developing, implementing, and evaluating a range of health and human services policies that affect the delivery and financing of services for people of all ages. Our expertise includes designing and financing systems of care for people with serious mental health challenges and substance use conditions and for those involved in criminal justice systems. We also specialize in policies that affect children, youth, and families who are involved with the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, and we work closely with school systems to implement and finance school-based services for children and youth with behavioral health needs.

Program Evaluation

Our goal is to use evaluation as a tool to help programs succeed. We do this by helping our clients clarify program values, maintaining our focus on core program goals throughout our projects, and providing timely and practical analyses and reports.

For our evaluations to achieve these goals, they must be unassailable in their integrity, credibility, and rigor. We make sure all measures are endorsed by stakeholders, and we strive to ensure that the processes of implementing evaluation methodologies, analyzing evaluation data, and producing reports are completely transparent to decision-makers and stakeholders.

We believe the aims of evaluation and resulting research questions depend on our clients’ needs, not ours. And we work with our clients to form research questions that meet their evaluation goals. To accomplish this, we develop questions through an iterative process with our clients and project stakeholders.

Our experience with large multi-jurisdictional and geographically-disperse evaluations has taught us the importance of considering the various cultural, social, and demographic contexts in which a program or policy is implemented. Many factors can influence program implementation, including the availability of services, the cultural beliefs and practices of consumers and clients, and levels of poverty within a community, among others. These factors can ultimately affect the evaluation.

Program Implementation

Our team helps states, regions, counties, and providers implement services, policies, and financing to support the delivery of high-quality care with successful outcomes. As we engage with stakeholders in this work, we believe it is critical that we incorporate the insights of people with behavioral health conditions and their families. We approach each project with respect for the cultural values of our clients and the people they serve. We also understand the importance of the successful strategies our clients have already implemented, integrating these stepping stones into our work and building on the success of each state, county, or provider we help.

We have helped our clients implement a broad range of programs, including such evidence-based practices as Assertive Community Treatment, Multisystemic Therapy, the Matrix Model of substance use treatment, and the Collaborative Care Model. Recent clients include, for example, community mental health providers, multi-stakeholder leadership teams, and specialty physical health outpatient clinics.

School-Based Mental Health Systems & Multi-Tiered Systems of Support

We conduct school mental health service assessments to help school districts improve academic outcomes by addressing the social and emotional needs of all students. We use a multi-tiered systems of support framework to help school districts engage families and incorporate mental health, community, and school resources into a single integrated system. Our school district plans recommend evidence-based strategies to improve need-based access to supports across all tiers of support. They also identify cost-effective and sustainable opportunities to increase access to school- and community-based behavioral health services. These plans also highlight opportunities to develop, strengthen, or restructure school district and community partnerships.

Connecting Schools and Mental Health

Training & Technical Assistance

Our team is skilled in training behavioral health practitioners, child welfare and juvenile justice staff, and program managers in the delivery and financing of evidence-based practices. We rely on progressive training that emphasizes “learning by doing” and promotes ongoing skill development. Our consultants have extensive hands-on experience with a range of evidence-based practices in direct services, training, and certification of programs and practices. We also have expertise in training managers on specific strategies to obtain adequate financing to support high-quality services. Several of our team members have taught at the university level and have experience in mentoring and training students and new and mid-career staff in the areas of counseling, evaluation, economics, management, psychology, and social work.

project descriptions

See examples of our work, helping clients get results that are meaningful, data-driven, and effective.