The Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Project: Supporting Mental Health Treatment in Primary Care

March 3, 2010

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Massachusetts has successfully demonstrated the Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Project (MCPAP), a program that provides timely telephonic psychiatric and clinical guidance to primary care providers (PCPs) treating children with mental health problems. The program allows enrolled PCPs to get assistance for any child in their care. On the basis of an initial phone consultation, MCPAP may provide an in-person psychiatric or clinical assessment, transitional therapy, and/or facilitated linkage to community resources. Six regional teams based in academic medical centers reach out to and support enrolled PCPs in their catchment area. The program has enrolled most primary care practices, representing an estimated 95 percent of all youth in the state, and has high rates of PCP participation. PCPs report higher ratings of their ability to serve children with mental health problems as a result of the program.


This study was based on publicly available information and self-reported data provided by the case study institution(s). The aim of Commonwealth Fund–sponsored case studies of this type is to identify institutions that have achieved results indicating high performance in a particular area of interest, have undertaken innovations designed to reach higher performance, or exemplify attributes that can foster high performance. The studies are intended to enable other institutions to draw lessons from the studied institutions' experience that will be helpful in their own efforts to become high performers. Even the best-performing organizations may fall short in some areas or make mistakes—emphasizing the need for systematic approaches to improve quality and prevent harm to patients and staff. The Commonwealth Fund is not an accreditor of health care organizations or systems, and the inclusion of an institution in the Fund's case study series is not an endorsement by the Fund for receipt of health care from the institution.

Publication Details

Publication Date:

March 3, 2010

Citation:

W. Holt, The Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Project: Supporting Mental Health Treatment in Primary Care, The Commonwealth Fund, March 2010.

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