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Continuing the Conversation in Mental Health

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Q & A with Brendan Shane, Director, Behavioral Health Operations with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota

Brendan Shane was a featured speaker at the Leading the Conversation: New Models for Addressing Mental Health and is the Director of Behavioral Health for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota. Brendan assumed this role in November 2016 and is responsible for the direction and management of all behavioral health services.

Prior to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, Brendan was the Director of Clinical Care Services for Magellan of Virginia. While there, he participated in and led a number of behavioral health initiatives across the Commonwealth. Before that role, Brendan held a leadership position with Carver County where he participated in and led key initiatives within the agency, in partnership with the State of Minnesota, and with colleagues from around the world related to children’s mental health targeted case management, child protection/welfare and adoption. Before that role, Brendan spent 10 years at Cigna where he held roles of increasing responsibility. Prior to his managed care experience, he served as a therapeutic day treatment therapist and a crisis clinician in various Twin Cities metro area emergency departments.

Tell us a bit about your role at BCBS MN.

I am the Director of Behavioral Health and in that role I am responsible for ensuring that BCBS MN operationalizes a Behavioral Health strategy that provides comprehensive solutions for all of our members.

You trained in social work and have worked in mental/behavioral health. What motivates you to continue this work?

I knew from an early age that I wanted to work in the behavioral health field.  I have a strong passion for understanding people and have seen first-hand how mental/behavioral health concerns impact lives for those who are experiencing it directly  family members and care givers.

Mental and behavioral health issues are increasingly in the news, social media forums, increasingly out in the open. Are we making progress on removing the stigma associated?

I think we are definitely making progress in reducing stigma, however, we have a long way to go.  All too often, awareness is raised when a crisis or tragedy occurs but after a short time the attention fades.  We need to be able to talk about behavioral health issues in our everyday lives because it is in those moments that change and healing occur.

Are there areas we are sliding backwards?

Healthcare is a rapidly changing industry, and has always been. There are times where you feel like you are moving forward and times where you are moving backwards. There’s no question that there is a lot more work to be done in behavioral health in Minnesota, but the more we can work together, the better outcomes we can provide.

This event is bringing together people from care providers, insurance companies, and technology firms, all with common cause of improved care. What do you hope to learn from your peers?

Through events such as this, we are able to learn about the critical needs in each facet of an individual’s health journey.  All of us have a different lens through which we see the member’s story and I’m hoping to learn more about how we can collectively impact the continuum of care from all angles.

How do you see BCBS MN leading the conversation towards better care?

Blue Cross has breadth and depth in data that no one else in Minnesota has. That allows us to see the bigger picture, track trends, and gain insights. We can —and do— pull together different groups to derive consensus and push issues forward. In the end, we all want the same thing: people getting the care they need, when they need it, for a fair price, to get to the best patient outcomes. When we keep that in mind, we can all work together to make that happen.

 

Leading the Conversation: Value-Based Care

Join us for the next event in the series, Leading the Conversation: Value-Based Care in November along with leaders from healthcare delivery, payment, and technology to discuss and debate one of the most critical issues to improving the United State’s health care system: value based care.

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