topics Policy Research Collaborative Care Policy Background

Collaborative Care Policy Background

The collaborative care model (CoCM) is a proven tool to detect and prevent suicide and overdose in primary care before they become crises. Unfortunately, less than one in twenty Americans can currently access it.

CoCM uses a team-based approach to care that routinely measures both clinical outcomes and patient goals over time to increase the effectiveness of mental health and SUD treatment in primary care settings. CoCM is an established evidence-based practice that has been shown to reduce depression, bipolar and anxiety disorders, SUD, suicidal ideation, and suicide completion. CoCM is also the only evidence-based medical procedure currently reimbursable in primary care — it has been covered by Medicare since 2017 and by nearly all commercial payers since 2019 — and it is the only model with strong evidence of cost savings. The potential cost-savings of wide-spread implementation are considerable; a 2013 study found savings in Medicare and Medicaid settings of up to 6 to 1 in total medical costs and estimated $15 billion in Medicaid savings if only 20 percent of beneficiaries with depression receive it. Despite its effectiveness and savings, implementation has been slow.

View or download the full white paper on Collaborative Care (October 2020).