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Yeung K, Richards J, Goemer E, Lozano P, Lapham G, Williams E, Glass J, Lee A, Achtmeyer C, Caldeiro R, Parrish R, Bradley K. Costs of using evidence-based implementation strategies for behavioral health integration in a large primary care system. Health services research. 2020 Dec 1; 55(6):913-923.
OBJECTIVE: To describe the cost of using evidence-based implementation strategies for sustained behavioral health integration (BHI) involving population-based screening, assessment, and identification at 25 primary care sites of Kaiser Permanente Washington (2015-2018). DATA SOURCES/STUDY SETTING: Project records, surveys, Bureau of Labor Statistics compensation data. STUDY DESIGN: Labor and nonlabor costs incurred by three implementation strategies: practice coaching, electronic health records clinical decision support, and performance feedback. DATA COLLECTION/EXTRACTION METHODS: Personnel time spent on these strategies was estimated for five broad roles: (a) project leaders and administrative support, (b) practice coaches, (c) clinical decision support programmers, (d) performance metric programmers, and (e) primary care local implementation team members. PRINCIPAL FINDING: Implementation involved 286 persons, 18 131 person-hours, costing $1 587 139 or $5 per primary care visit with screening or $38 per primary care visit identifying depression, suicidal thoughts and/or alcohol or substance use disorders, in a single year. The majority of person-hours was devoted to project leadership (35%) and practice coaches (34%), and 36% of costs were for the first three sites. CONCLUSIONS: When spread across patients screened in a single year, BHI implementation costs were well within the range for commonly used diagnostic assessments in primary care (eg, laboratory tests). This suggests that implementation costs alone should not be a substantial barrier to population-based BHI.