Integrated behavioral health is a rapidly growing field in mental health and to date there are limited training resources on this topic. The AIMS Center has developed a clinical rotation curriculum that introduces a senior resident to the role of the psychiatric consultant in a Collaborative Care team. To support the clinical rotation, we designed a set of six modules to cover the fundamentals necessary to assume the role of a psychiatric consultant on a Collaborative Care team.
The legacy terms “IMPACT Care” or “IMPACT Model” is largely synonymous with Collaborative Care. The terms originate from the IMPACT study, the first large randomized controlled trial of treatment for depression. The IMPACT study demonstrated that Collaborative Care more than doubled the effectiveness of depression treatment for older adults in primary care settings.
The Collaborative Care model (CoCM) is now recognized as effective in treating a wide range of behavioral health disorders – not just depression. A team-based Collaborative Care approach can also address anxiety and trauma disorders, chronic pain, substance use disorders including alcohol and opioids, and ADHD.
In the largest treatment trial for depression to date, a team of researchers led by Dr. Jürgen Unützer followed 1,801 depressed, older adults from 18 diverse primary care clinics across the United States for two years. The 18 participating clinics were associated with eight health care organizations in Washington, California, Texas, Indiana and North Carolina. The clinics included several Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs), traditional fee-for-service clinics, an Independent Provider Association (IPA), an inner-city public health clinic, and two Veteran’s Administration clinics.
Half of the patients were randomly assigned to receive the care normally available in their primary care clinic, including medications (70% of usual care patients) and/or referral to specialty mental health. The other half of patients were randomly assigned to receive the IMPACT model of depression care, also known as Collaborative Care. A patient registry was developed for the trial that tracked and measured patient goals and clinical outcomes and facilitated treatment adjustment if a patient was not improving as expected.
As reported in JAMA in 2002, Collaborative Care more than doubled the effectiveness of depression treatment for older adults in primary care settings. At 12 months, about half of the patients receiving Collaborative Care reported at least a 50 percent reduction in depressive symptoms, compared with only 19 percent of those in usual care. A handout of usual care versus IMPACT care presents some reasons why the results were as significant as they were. Analysis of data from the survey conducted one year after IMPACT resources were no longer available showed that the benefits of the IMPACT intervention persisted after one year. IMPACT patients experienced more than one hundred additional depression-free days over a two-year period than those treated in usual care.
Since the end of the trial, over one thousand organizations in the United States and internationally have adapted and implemented Collaborative Care with diverse patient populations and for a variety of behavioral health conditions.
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.
DIAMOND was a collaborative effort of 9 health plans, 25 medical groups, and over 80 primary care clinics in Minnesota to implement and study Collaborative Care for depression. The AIMS Center provided consultation and coaching for the initiative. In addition, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) awarded a $3 million grant to HealthPartners Research Foundation to study the DIAMOND initiative over five years. The study evaluated all aspects of DIAMOND, including effects of the program on patient satisfaction, productivity, and program cost-effectiveness. The project used a patient registry that tracks and measures patient goals and clinical outcomes, and facilitates treatment adjustment if a patient is not improving as expected.
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 AIMS Center provided training and coaching to five primary care organizations in Texas to implement integrated care for the two mental health conditions most commonly encountered in primary care: depression and anxiety disorders.
A study evaluating outcomes of this program found that vastly different organizations were all able to integrate mental health into primary care settings that serve disadvantaged communities. All five organizations in this program showed meaningful improvement in patient depression outcomes, regardless of varying patient characteristics. Sites that achieved the best patient outcomes engaged patients early, with multiple care manager contacts in the first 3 months of treatment, and received consultation and supervision from psychiatric providers.
Bauer, A. M., Azzone, V., Goldman, H. H., Alexander, L., Unützer, J., Coleman-Beattie, B., & Frank, R. G. (2011). Evaluating the implementation of collaborative depression management in community-based primary care clinics. Psychiatric Services. 62(9), 1047–1053. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ps.62.9.1047
This research project combined IMPACT depression care management with an existing diabetes care management program for low income, predominantly Spanish-speaking Latinx people in San Diego. The study shows that this combined approach is both effective and cost-effective with this population.
When hurricanes Katrina and Rita devasted New Orleans, the AIMS Center worked on a Red Cross funded initiative to rebuild the primary care system to include Collaborative Care. The project enhanced the availability of evidence-based mental health services to uninsured, disadvantaged, and minority community members offered through REACH NOLA’s Mental Health Infrastructure and Training Project. It also showed the benefits of integrated mental health care after disasters, particularly for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). To our knowledge, the program is the first time that a Collaborative-Care-based quality improvement approach for mental health treatment had been applied in a post-disaster recovery setting.
Alameda County in California provides affordable health care to its uninsured residents, but primary care clinics struggle to meet the demand. The AIMS Center, in partnership with the Alameda Health Consortium, helped 30 primary care clinics develop an integrated mental health care initiative targeting depression, anxiety, and PTSD to increase the effectiveness of care. A key component of the project was determining how organizations can successfully use funding from Medicaid to implement Collaborative Care.
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.