CommonSpirit Health partnered with Concert Health to boost behavioral health services, the organizations announced Wednesday.
CommonSpirit, which has 137 hospitals across 21 states, and behavioral healthcare provider Concert Health aim to scale an integrated primary care and behavioral health model. CommonSpirit's primary care physicians will screen patients for issues like depression and anxiety and Concert's care managers will develop a behavioral healthcare plan, executives said.
"To bridge long-standing gaps between mental and physical healthcare, we need to turn to evidence-based models that integrate these areas of care and provide real outcomes. Especially for the vulnerable or underserved, seeking behavioral healthcare in the community can be challenging due to stigma, lack of access, and prohibitive costs," Christine Brocato, vice president of strategic innovation at CommonSpirit, said in prepared remarks.
The "collaborative care" model, which has been tested in Bakersfield, Calif., is a covered benefit for Medicare, most commercial insurers and under Medicaid in 18 states, executives noted.
CommonSpirit physicians will expedite referrals to Concert's care managers who will offer a mix of medication, goal setting and other approaches. The care team will assess symptom severity though questionnaires and other quantitative measures.
Mental ailments have often been overlooked in the traditional healthcare pathways. But when left unaddressed, research shows that healthcare costs increase and outcomes suffer.
Those with a behavioral health condition incurred 3.5 times higher costs than for people without one, according to a recent analysis of 21 million commercial insurance claims by Millman.
Spending on behavioral healthcare is only a fraction of the $3.6 trillion healthcare system. Behavioral healthcare spending accounted for only 4.4% of the total healthcare costs across the 21 million claims Millman analyzed. These gaps in care will become even more glaring as millions cope with job loss, personal trauma and other issues associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
"With the economy and the impact this has had, depression and suicide rates are poised to increase over time—we could see a mental health curve of this pandemic," Glenn Raup, executive director of behavioral health, emergency and observational health at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, Calif., told Modern Healthcare earlier this year. "The mental health component is going to be critical as we gauge the trauma of dealing with this and the long-term effects."