Providence Business News: Patient-centered medical home initiative managed by UMass Medical School launches behavioral health pilot

March 24, 2016

The Care Transformation Collaborative of Rhode Island (CTC), a patient-centered medical home initiative managed by UMass Medical School, is supporting behavioral health integration into primary care practices through a new pilot program, according to an article in Providence Business News.

“Patients living with unidentified behavioral health conditions experience safety risks, avoidable and costly emergency department visits and hospitalizations, and a negative impact on their quality of life,” Debra Hurwitz, MBA, BSN, RN, co-director of CTC, told Providence Business News. Hurwitz is an associate director of program development in the Office of Program Development within UMass Medical School’s Commonwealth Medicine division.

The Office of Program Development has been providing project management support for the Rhode Island patient-centered medical home initiative since 2011. CTC, funded primarily by the commercial health plans that participate in the program, was launched as a pilot program in 2008. The innovative care model began with five primary care practices in 2008 and has expanded to 81 practice sites that provide care to about 350,000 Rhode Island residents.

The first pilot cohort, launched in January, includes six primary care practices that have begun universal screening for depression, anxiety and substance use disorders for all their patients, according to the March 7 article. A second cohort will begin in November.

CTC works to improve quality outcomes, improve patient experiences, reduce the costs of unnecessary hospitalizations, and provides practices with incentives to meet those goals. The organization brings together a multi-payer collaboration of insurers, Medicare and Medicaid to provide team-based, comprehensive and preventive care in a primary care office in which patients work with their health care providers to manage their care. 

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