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O'Donnell AN, Williams M, Kilbourne AM. Overcoming roadblocks: current and emerging reimbursement strategies for integrated mental health services in primary care. Journal of general internal medicine. 2013 Dec 1; 28(12):1667-72.
The Chronic Care Model (CCM) has been shown to improve medical and psychiatric outcomes for persons with mental disorders in primary care settings, and has been proposed as a model to integrate mental health care in the patient-centered medical home under healthcare reform. However, the CCM has not been widely implemented in primary care settings, primarily because of a lack of a comprehensive reimbursement strategy to compensate providers for day-to-day provision of its core components, including care management and provider decision support. Drawing upon the existing literature and regulatory guidelines, we provide a critical analysis of challenges and opportunities in reimbursing CCM components under the current fee-for-service system, and describe an emerging financial model involving bundled payments to support core CCM components to integrate mental health treatment into primary care settings. Ultimately, for the CCM to be used and sustained over time to integrate physical and mental health care, effective reimbursement models will need to be negotiated across payers and providers. Such payments should provide sufficient support for primary care providers to implement practice redesigns around core CCM components, including care management, measurement-based care, and mental health specialist consultation.