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.
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 Mental Health Integration Program (MHIP), supported and administered by the Community Health Plan of Washington in partnership with Public Health -Seattle and King County, integrates mental health screening and treatment in a collaborative care model (CoCM), including psychiatric case review and consultation. MHIP collaborative care teams in Washington State safety-net primary care settings serve diverse Medicaid and uninsured populations. Since MHIP’s inception in 2007, over 50,000 individuals have received integrated mental health services. In 2007 it began as a state-funded, two-county pilot for high risk uninsured adults in King and Pierce counties, but MHIP expanded statewide in early 2009 to include over 130 primary care clinics.
MHIP uses a patient registry (CMTS) to track and measure patient goals and clinical outcomes, and facilitate treatment adjustment if a patient is not improving as expected. MHIP also utilizes pay-for-performance mechanisms to support model fidelity and prioritize patient outcomes. Training and workforce efforts for this project focus on the whole team and all providers are trained on the fundamentals of CoCM.
Poor mental health is a major public health issue, affecting millions of people in their pursuit to lead optimal emotional, social, and professional lives. Depression alone can worsen other medical conditions, often doubling over-all healthcare costs, and result in a significant decrease in quality of life and overall functioning.
Rural communities and residents of those communities face significant social and health disparities as compared with urban and suburban residents. Residents of rural areas are more likely to experience health disparities. They are more likely to have chronic health conditions, less likely to receive healthcare of any kind, and less likely to receive evidence-based treatments when they do access care. Geographic maldistribution of mental health specialists from all disciplines and education levels (e.g. psychology, social work, psychiatry) creates significant access challenges. Rural areas also experience workforce shortages for primary care, where most rural mental health treatment occurs, further exacerbating access barriers. In underserved rural areas in Washington and Alaska, a severe shortage of mental health providers compounds these problems.
In an effort to ameliorate some of these disparities, the AIMS Center is partnering with Premera Blue Cross to support 23 clinics in rural Washington and Alaska to implement Collaborative Care.
Around 2.1 million Americans aged 12 years and older had an opioid use disorder (OUD) in 2016. Among adults who misused opioids in the prior year, 43% also had a mental illness. There is strong evidence for the efficacy of the Collaborative Care model (CoCM) in treating common mental health disorders, but not for the treatment of OUD. The CHAMP study (Collaborating to Heal Opioid Addiction and Mental Health in Primary Care) will investigate whether CoCM that addresses both mental health conditions and co-occurring OUD can improve patient lives.
The Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Science’s Population Health Division and the AIMS Center will support up to 24 primary care clinics in implementing either CoCM for OUD and mental health conditions, or for mental health conditions only. Training for the intervention began in late summer 2020.
Find out more about this clinical trial by visiting the CHAMP website.
Lori Ferro Phone: (206) 685-7538
Watch presenter Anna Ratzliff, MD, PhD give an introduction to the project and answer questions from attendees.