Terri Reedy

Collaborative Care Model: A Patient-Centric Approach to Mental Health Care

There are people all over the country without access to treatment for mental disorders and substance abuse issues. This lack of care leads to gaps in mental health coverage for many Americans. TPMG Behavioral Health is partnering with primary care providers to introduce a Collaborative Care Model that will work to fill those gaps in care.

What is the Collaborative Care Model?

The Collaborative Care Model is a patient-centered approach to mental health care that links a patient’s primary care provider, a behavioral health care manager, and a psychiatric consultant to help a patient meet their mental health goals.

How does the Collaborative Care Model work?

Oftentimes, our first stop when we notice something is wrong (either mentally or physically) is our primary care provider (PCP). Traditionally, if your PCP notices a mental health concern, they have two options: treat the condition themselves or refer their patient to a trained psychiatric professional. Direct treatment from PCPs can become expensive and, without input from trained mental health professionals, is sometimes unsuccessful. Direct referrals often take time because the demand for mental health professionals is higher than their availability. These issues are what prompted the creation of the Collaborative Care Model.

Using the Collaborative Care Model, patients receive help faster and experience a greater reduction of symptoms without excessive expense. This model links PCPs with consulting psychiatrists through a behavioral healthcare manager. Behavioral health managers are integrated into primary care offices to assist patients with behavioral health conditions such as anxiety, depression, and more. These managers work closely with PCPs and psychiatric consultants to design treatment that fits each patient.

The process looks something like this:

1) Psychiatric Acuity Test
Your PCP gauges your psychiatric acuity (mental sharpness) or recognizes psychiatric refractory symptoms (a mental health symptom that can no longer be self-regulated).
2) Enrollment
Your PCP enrolls you into the Collaborative Care Model with your consent.
3) Behavioral Health Manager
A behavioral health manager will reach out via telemedicine.
4) Treatment Begins
You begin treatment consisting of weekly contact.
5) Plan Development
Your behavioral health manager, PCP, and psychiatric consultant work together to develop a treatment plan that fits your needs.
6) Regain Control
You achieve control of your symptoms through medication management, brief therapy interventions, and reduction in symptom severity.

What are the benefits?

Numerous studies suggest the Collaborative Care Model is an extremely effective way to treat widespread mental health disorders. This model is unique because it meets patients where they currently seek care, rather than sending them elsewhere. Weekly contact from a behavioral health team facilitates patient-provider trust, while increased access to medical care prompts more efficient and effective results. The Collaborative Care Model allows all of your providers to work together to create the best care plan for your mental health goals.

To learn more about this model and how to enroll, talk with your TPMG primary care provider today.


TPMG Collaborative Care Model Printable

TPMG Behavioral Health Referral Process

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