Making Behavioral Health a Priority: The Story of Two Accountable Care Organizations

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The accountable care organization, or ACO, is an emerging payment model with the potential to foster better coordination of primary care and behavioral health—a key to improving outcomes and controlling costs for people with mental illness. In a new Commonwealth Fund report, researchers at The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice examine the innovative approaches taken by two ACOs seeking closer integration of these services.<br /><br />
The Crystal Run Healthcare ACO, serving New York’s Lower Hudson River Valley and Catskills region, focuses on increasing collaboration and communication between behavioral health specialists and primary care clinicians by locating both types of providers within the same building and deploying IT systems to enable easy sharing of patient information. Essentia Health, operating in four Midwestern states, embeds behavioral health specialists within primary care teams; the specialists support the primary care physician, who retains supervision of the patient’s psychiatric care.<br />
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Learn how the two organizations are implementing their models, the positive impacts they’ve achieved so far, and the challenges in bringing the models to full scale. Read the report