IMPROVING DEPRESSION CARE IN THE RURAL WEST: SOCIAL INNOVATION FUND
Poor mental health is a major public health issue that robs millions of people of their chance to lead healthy and productive lives. Depression alone doubles overall healthcare costs, worsens other medical conditions, and results in a staggering loss of productivity at work. In underserved rural areas in the WWAMI (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho) region, a severe shortage of mental health providers compounds these problems.
Through a public-private partnership, the AIMS Center supported eight rural community primary care clinics serving low-income patients to implement collaborative care (also called collaborative care management or CoCM) in the WWAMI region, a geographic area served by the University of Washington School of Medicine and representing 27% of the land mass of the United States. These 8 clinics planned to serve 3,250 patients but ultimately enrolled 5,392 patients. This represents 16% of the total unique patients served by these clinics and is a significant increase of the patients they were able to reach before implementing CoCM.
This implementation is part of California’s Mental Health Services Act and LA County’s Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI) Plan. The PEI Plan focuses on prevention and early intervention services, education, support, and outreach to help inform and identify individuals and their families who may be affected by some level of mental health issue. The Mental Health Integrated Care Program in particular targets adults with depression, anxiety, and mild to moderate PTSD. Providing mental health education, outreach and early identification (prior to diagnosis) can mitigate costly negative long-term outcomes for mental health consumers and their families.
The Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority provided pilot funding to a Federally Qualified Health Center in Anchorage to support implementation of Collaborative Care and two Alaska Native tribal health corporations to support implementation of Collaborative Care and SBIRT (Substance Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment). The purpose of this program was to determine if integrated mental health care can be effective given the unique challenges faced by primary care clinics in Alaska.
The New York State Collaborative Care Initiative helped primary care residents learn how to effectively practice team-based care to treat mental health conditions, a skill that has become increasingly important as integrated care becomes more widespread. Outpatient clinics associated with teaching hospitals are implementing Collaborative Care around the state, increasing the quality of mental health care for thousands of New Yorkers. By providing different intensities of technical assistance, the AIMS Center evaluated what level of support was needed to effectively help organizations implement Collaborative Care. They helped set up a technical assistance team in New York to provide on-site assistance to six clinics. Twenty other hospital organziations received web-based technical assistance, including webinars and online tools. Organizations used a patient registry to track and measure patient goals and clinical outcomes, and facilitate treatment adjustment if a patient is not improving as expected.
The New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) asked Performing Provider Systems (PPSs) from all over the state that chose Collaborative Care for their Delivery System Reform Incentive Program (DSRIP) to nominate at least one of their clinics to participate in the Learning Network. Through a rigorous application process, 19 clinics were selected to participate. As a part of the Learning Network, these clinics will eventually be eligible to bill the monthly Medicaid case rate once they are trained and have the necessary staffing, infrastructure, and workflows in place to deliver effective Collaborative Care (CoCM).
In order to achieve these goals, OMH provided clinics with training, site visits, and access to tools that facilitate the implementation of Collaborative Care, including access to the AIMS Center’s Care Management Tracking System. While Collaborative Care training and support provided by OMH is only available to these clinics for one year, OMH hopes that creating a network of clinics learning together will facilitate the success of Collaborative Care for clinics beyond additional training support. As part of the Learning Network, clinics are encouraged to build relationships with the other clinics through communicating and learning from one another along the way. Individual clinics are matched with similarly structured clinics to form several training cohorts to better facilitate learning. An experienced coach works with each training cohort throughout the implementation process. Regular calls with the training cohort will keep clinics connected and provide the opportunity to receive additional training support, discuss challenges, and learn what the other sites are doing.
The AIMS Center, NYS OMH, Qualis Health, and, most importantly, the training cohorts will provide clinics with the support and tools needed to ensure a successful CoCM program implementation. We hope that each clinic’s care team will continue to communicate with the other members of the learning network after the close of the year and the discontinuation of services.
In an effort to increase access to mental health care in Seattle and King County, the AIMS Center at the University of Washington partnered with UW Medicine to launch the Behavioral Health Integration Program (BHIP). BHIP uses collaborative care to bring mental health treatment into all of the UW Neighborhood Clinics, a system of twelve primary care clinics located throughout greater Seattle, as well as clinics at Harborview Medical Center and the General Internal Medicine clinic at UWMC Roosevelt. Like elsewhere, mental health is a big part of primary care in Seattle and King County; in 2009, 19% of all clinic patients had a mental health diagnosis. Although Collaborative Care has been implemented around the world, the AIMS Center and UW Medicine are very proud to be able to provide it in our own community.
BHIP utilizes a web-based Care Management Tracking System that supports population-based care, provides patient outcome measures, and assists in quality improvement efforts. In October 2012, several goals were established for the BHIP program: to increase patient access by care managers and across all BHIP clinics, to improve patient outcomes on measures of depression and anxiety, to increase provider satisfaction with care management, and to improve provider satisfaction with psychiatric consultation. When measured in August 2013, the BHIP program had exceeded initial targets for each of the seven indicators.