St. Peter’s Health Partners (SPHP) is receiving state and national recognition for its new integrated behavioral health model in primary care, designed to greatly increase the number of consumers receiving treatment for mental health issues like depression and anxiety. The idea behind the program is to treat consumers for mental health issues within their primary care setting, removing barriers to getting care.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has given this new integrated behavioral health model Best Practice Recognition in its CMS Primary First Spotlight, a National CMS publication for Primary Care Practices enrolled in the program across the nation.
Using SPHP’s integrated behavioral health model, a primary care practice is provided with a behavioral health manager and a consulting psychiatrist so that consumers expressing symptoms of depression, anxiety (and eight other behavioral health issues) can receive immediate treatment where they are, with the doctor with whom they already have a rapport. Primary care doctors report an increased comfort level treating their primary care consumers for mental health concerns when they have behavioral health experts working alongside them.
This approach is designed to eliminate several common barriers to receiving mental health services, including work schedules, childcare, transportation issues, etc. The SPHP’s model was implemented by Susan Mrakovcic-Kane, Supervisor, Social Services, Care Coordination at SPHP. The integrated behavioral health model allows for more consumer capacity in primary care offices as well as other clinics and practices, ensuring that specialty care is available to those who need it most. Colleagues of Mrakovcic-Kane and House have reported more than 30% of their primary care consumers have needed mental health treatment just in the last year.
The first SPHP’s location to roll out this model was St. Peter’s Internal Medicine, located at 147 Hoosick Street in Troy, in March 2020. In all, eight of SPHP’s practices are currently using the model. Other locations currently using the integrated behavioral health model are:
- Troy Family Health Center
- Capital Region Family Health Center
- Troy Internal Medicine
- Family Medical Group
- Cohoes Family Care
- Clifton Park Family Practice
- Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Consumers at these practices have responded positively, thanking their physicians for removing the barriers to receiving needed treatment for anxiety and depression, and for administering quality treatment and care.
CMS has indicated it intends to use SPHP’s integrated behavioral health model as a guide for other facilities across the nation that are starting to build their own models. They emphasized this model within primary care can impact overall population health, quality of life and improved health outcomes for consumers served.
Mrakovcic-Kane and House will be guests on a new health care podcast hosted by CMS and CMS Primary Care First (which is an alternate payment model designed to reduce Medicare spending and improve quality and access to care for all consumers). The podcast will focus on SPHP’s specific integrated behavioral health model and other issues of complex care management. It is expected to be released in mid-November 2021.
When SPHP was formed in 2011, a key goal of the merger was to provide high-quality health care across our continuum of services. That goal continues to drive SPHP’s mission to this day. SPHP strives to provide seamless, consumer-centered care regardless of location. To provide that continuum of care, we rely on care coordination – the partnership of care provider organizations with consumers and families.
SPHP’s Integrated Care Coordination System (ICCS) encompasses all the work in support of care coordination and involves various teams of colleagues across SPHP who meet regularly to assess how they can further foster collaboration, reduce redundancy, promote consumer centeredness and outcomes, and reduce adverse events. The ICCS focuses on consumer transitions/movement, consumer goals and engagement, ensuring we “close the loop” between transitions, and increasing communication between provider organizations and with our consumers.
This was reported by St. Peter’s Health Partners on October 21, 2021.
Contact information: St. Peter’s Health Partners, 315 South Manning Boulevard, Albany, New York 12208; 518-525-1111; Website: https://news.sphp.com/