Screening Programs and Tools

Screening Programs and Tools

Magellan of Virginia launched its screening programs to target individuals who may have co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders, as well as a brief screening tool for depression.

Magellan of Virginia uses the following screening tools:

  • The Global Appraisal of Individual Needs-Short Screener (GAIN-SS)
  • The Patient Health Questionnaire two-item scale (PHQ-2)

The GAIN-SS is a brief five minute instrument designed to quickly and accurately screen general populations of both adults and adolescents to detect psychiatric disorders, substance use disorders, or crime and violence problems. The screener helps identify those who would benefit from further assessment or referral for these issues, and also rules out those who do not have a behavioral health disorder. The GAIN-SS was developed by Chestnut Health Systems in response to demands from professionals from a number of different treatment systems to make the process of behavioral health assessment and referral more efficient. While the licensing cost to use the screener is $100, it has been endorsed by the Department of Mental Health and Disability Services as an appropriate and effective screening tool.

The PHQ-2 consists of the first two items from the longer Patient Health Questionnaire-9, which consists of nine items that align with the DSM criteria for major depression. The PHQ-2 inquires about the frequency of depressed mood and loss of pleasure or interest over the past 2 weeks. Its purpose is not to establish a final diagnosis but to screen for depression as an initial approach. A PHQ-2 score ranges from 0-6, with recommendations for further screening with a PHQ-9 for anyone scoring a 3 and above.

Additional information about these screening tools along with their descriptions and instructions for use is available via the links below. The screening tools will be of use to identify any member suspected of possibly having a depressive disorder and/or individuals with a mental illness who could also potentially have a substance use disorder. It will be recommended that these tools be utilized for every potential candidate on initial evaluation and at least on a quarterly basis.

Magellan of Virginia will obtain provider and practitioner feedback by presenting the program design in its committee meetings and Governance Board meetings. The tools will be evaluated and revised at least every two years or when there are scientific and clinical updates made to them. The program information will also be incorporated into the welcome letters for new practitioners and providers.

The need for screenings for these disorders is vital for the identification, diagnosis, treatment and eventual recovery from these illnesses. Since these individuals may often be identified in other systems such as correctional facilities, emergency rooms, primary care offices, schools or social services, a short and precise assessment tool is necessary that can be used with minimal training. Both of these screening instruments are brief and easy to understand and use, making them obvious choices for our CMC and for providers caring for our Medicaid population.

Read more about the Global Appraisal of Individual Needs-Short Screener (GAIN-SS) Tool
Read more about the Patient Health Questionnaire two-item scale (PHQ-2 screening) Tool

Screening tool access:

Global Appraisal of Individual Needs Coordinating Center
Patient Health Questionnaire Screeners

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