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Implementation of collaborative care for depressive disorder treatment among accountable care organizations.

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 Jul 9; 100(27):e26539.

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ABSTRACT: Collaborative care - primary care models combining care management, consulting behavioral health clinicians, and registries to target mental health treatment - is a cost-effective depression treatment model, but little is known about uptake of collaborative care in a national setting. Alternative payment models such as accountable care organizations (ACOs), in which ACOs are responsible for quality and cost for defined patient populations, may encourage collaborative care use.Determine prevalence of collaborative care implementation among ACOs and whether ACO structure or contract characteristics are associated with implementation.Cross-sectional analysis of 2017-2018 National Survey of ACOs (NSACO). Overall, 55% of ACOs returned a survey (69% of Medicare, 36% of non-Medicare ACOs); 48% completed at least half of core survey questions. We used logistic regression to examine the association between implementation of core collaborative care components - care management, a consulting mental health clinician, and a patient registry to track mental health symptoms - and ACO characteristics.Four hundred five National Survey of ACOs respondents answering questions on collaborative care implementation.Only 17% of ACOs reported implementing all collaborative care components. Most reported using care managers (71%) and consulting mental health clinicians (58%), = just 26% reported using patient registries. After adjusting for multiple ACO characteristics, ACOs responsible for mental health care quality measures were 15 percentage points (95% CI 5-23) more likely to implement collaborative care.Most ACOs are not utilizing behavioral health collaborative care. Including mental health care quality measures in payment contracts may facilitate implementation of this cost-effective model. Improving provider capacity to track and target depression treatment with patient registries is warranted as payment contracts focus on treatment outcomes.

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