Newton H, Busch SH, Brunette M, Maust DT, O’Malley J, Meara ER. Implementation of collaborative care for depressive disorder treatment among accountable care organizations. Medicine 2021;100:27(e26539).
Collaborative care is a cost-effective model of primary care that combines care management, consulting behavioral health clinicians and registries to target mental health treatment. A study was conducted to determine the prevalence of collaborative care implementation in accountable care organizations (ACOs) and identify characteristics in ACOs associated with implementation. Researchers examined the association between implementation of collaborative care components and ACO characteristics. Four hundred five total respondents completed questions on collaborative care implementation in the 2017-2018 National Survey of ACOs. Only seventeen percent of ACOs implemented all collaborative care components. The most common components were care managers (71% of ACOs) and consulting mental health clinicians (58%). The least frequently implemented component was using patient registries to track and target mental health treatment (only 26%). The findings also showed ACOs responsible for mental healthcare quality measures were significantly more likely to implement collaborative care. This study demonstrates most ACOs do not have full implementation of behavioral health collaborative care. Payers interested in incentivizing integrated mental health care should address barriers to collaborative care implementation.