ACT shows the way to integrated care

One size does not fit all, but all can have a size that fits

By Todd Neff
For UCHealth

The results are in from a pioneering five-year, $3.9 million experiment to see how eight primary care practices and three mental health centers across Colorado might integrate behavioral health and primary care. The biggest finding, the Advancing Care Together (ACT) program’s leaders at the University of Colorado School of Medicine say, is that integrated care can be done well in different types of clinics with diverse patient populations – but that local practices gain from the flexibility to tailor the approach to their particular circumstances rather than adopting one-size-fits-all templates.

That’s good news for UCHealth, which views care integration as central to its primary care practice transformation efforts.
The findings, published as a special supplement to the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine (JABFM), also pointed out two major issues that must be solved to enable integrated care on a large scale: improving electronic health records to enable better data capture and sharing across primary care and behavioral health, and reforming payment approaches to make sure clinics providing behavioral health services can afford to do it.

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