Primary Care Provider (PCP)

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Most primary care providers (PCPs) lack the time required to fully explore a patient’s mental health problem. In Collaborative Care, the PCP has two additional resources to aid in mental health treatment: a Behavioral Health Care Manager (BHCM), and a Psychiatric Consultant.

The PCP works in close consultation and collaboration with the patient’s BHCM (who is available in-house or by phone/email). The PCP also continues to oversee all aspects of the patient’s care, including medication. The Psychiatric Consultant typically consults with the BHCM by phone and is normally not co-located. Treatment recommendations from the Psychiatric Consultant are relayed to the PCP via the BHCM or by the Electronic Health Record; however, there may be instances where the PCP and Psychiatric Consultant communicate directly.

Role Description

The PCP Role Handout describes the role of a PCP on a Collaborative Care team. This handout can be used internally at your clinic and can be helpful throughout CoCM implementation. 

An additional resource that may be helpful includes a paper stemming from the Washington State Mental Health Integration Program, which talks about physician satisfaction with a Collaborative Care program.

Components of integrated care undertaken by the care team that may be new to PCPs include:

  • Proactive patient engagement
  • Frequent measurement of symptoms with evidence-based tools (e.g., PHQ-9, GAD-7)
  • Aggressive and proactive change of treatment plan when necessary
  • Use of brief, evidence-based practice techniques that work best in a primary care environment



  • Why Practice CoCM - This document presents reasons why the Collaborative Care Model (CoCM) benefits a PCP and provides a visual representation of the model to solidify team structure and flow.
  • Clinical skills - This page provides training resources unique to PCPs who practice as part of a Collaborative Care team.
  • Obtaining Verbal Patient Consent for CoCM - This resource offers general guidance on introducing CoCM to patients and gathering verbal consent for participation. 
  • Comparing CoCM to Usual Care - This resource outlines evidence that CoCM increases the effectiveness of depression treatment and lowers total healthcare costs.