In June 2024, over 100 faculty members and residents from residency programs across the United States convened in Washington, D.C., for the 3rd Collaborative Care Model (CoCM) Residency Training Education Conference. Hosted by the American Psychiatric Association and co-sponsored by the Meadows Institute, Path Forward, and the AIMS Center at the University of Washington, this two-day event aimed to empower primary care physicians, psychiatrists, and their teams with the necessary tools and information to implement the collaborative care model in their practices.

The Importance of the Collaborative Care Model (CoCM)
The Collaborative Care Model is an evidence-based approach to integrate mental health services into primary care settings, enhancing access to mental health care, improving outcomes, and reducing costs. The model involves a team-based approach where primary care providers, care managers, and psychiatric consultants work together to provide patient-centered care.

Key Discussions and Highlights

Federal and State Policy Initiatives

Kristin Kroeger, Chief of Advocacy, Policy and Practice Advancement at the APA shared insights on the latest federal and state policy initiatives aimed at promoting the Collaborative Care Model. This included updates on legislative efforts, funding opportunities, and regulatory changes that can facilitate the adoption of CoCM in various healthcare settings.

CoCM Financing and Billing

One of the significant challenges in implementing the Collaborative Care Model is navigating the complexities of financing and billing. Sulaminat Camargo, Senior Director of Finance, Health Systems Integration at the Meadows Institute shared information and updates about the reimbursement mechanisms, including Medicare and Medicaid billing codes, and identifying sustainable financial models to support CoCM practices.

Advocating for CoCM Implementation

Attendees learned practical strategies for advocating the implementation of the Collaborative Care Model in existing practices. This included building a compelling case for CoCM, addressing potential barriers, and leveraging success stories to inspire and motivate stakeholders.

Insights from Successful Implementations

The conference provided a platform for primary care physicians and psychiatrists who have successfully integrated the Collaborative Care Model into their practices to share their experiences. These intimate conversations highlighted real-world challenges, best practices, and the positive impact of CoCM on patient care and provider satisfaction. Roshi Koli, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute lead one of two panel discussions featuring stories from healthcare professionals who have successfully integrated the CoCM into primary care settings.

Building a Collaborative Future

The conference underscored the critical role of education and training in advancing the Collaborative Care Model. By equipping current and future healthcare providers with the knowledge and skills to implement CoCM, the event contributed to a broader movement towards integrated mental health care. The collaborative efforts of organizations like the American Psychiatric Association, the Meadows Institute, Path Forward, and the AIMS Center are paving the way for widespread implementation of the CoCM.

It is Path Forward’s hope that the insights gained and connections made during the event are expected to drive significant advancements in the integration of the Collaborative Care model – the gold standard of integration models-ultimately improving the quality of care and outcomes for countless individuals.

Mya D. Sendak, MD, Consulting Associate in the Dept. of Pediatrics, Duke University, Nathan J. Copeland, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, Duke University, Roshni Koli, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Meadows Institute.

For more information on the Collaborative Care Model and training opportunities, visit the American Psychiatric Association’s CoCM training page.