Remotely managing primary care patients' behavioral health needs
Two in five low-income Californians who seek behavioral health care do not receive it. And many of those who do are likely to receive it in a primary care setting, where providers often lack the time and/or training to properly diagnose and manage mental health conditions. There are proven solutions for better integrating mental health care into primary care, but they can be difficult to implement in settings with provider shortages, limited capacity, or lower patient volumes.
One of the most effective and widely studied care integration approaches is the Collaborative Care Model (CoCM), which supports primary care providers by pairing them with a behavioral health manager, who tracks patients’ symptoms over time and provides evidence-based talk therapy as needed, and a consulting psychiatrist, who oversees treatment. Concert Health makes the CoCM model more accessible and scalable by offering primary care practices a network of remote behavioral health managers and psychiatrists that can manage patients’ mental health needs by phone or video.
CHCF has made a program-related investment in Concert Health to help them meet more Medi-Cal patients’ mental health needs within the primary care setting. The company already works with Medicaid plans in other states, and in California with Medicare and commercial customers. CHCF will provide additional grant support to defray training and implementation costs for some participating providers, and to evaluate the effectiveness of virtual collaborative care for Medi-Cal patients.