CommonSpirit Health, the second largest nonprofit hospital chain in the country, has partnered with Concert Health, a virtual behavioral startup that brings collaborative care to primary care practices across the country.
The agreement is rooted in collaborative care and will help CommonSpirit better address behavioral health conditions such as anxiety and depression in primary care settings.
Headquartered in Chicago, CommonSpirit is a nonprofit Catholic health system formed last year as the result of a merger between Catholic Health Initiatives and Dignity Health. It boasts 137 hospitals and more than 1,000 care sites across 21 states.
Meanwhile, Concert Health’s corporate headquarters is located in San Diego, California. The company partners with hundreds of primary care and women’s health providers across the country to identify and address patients’ behavioral health needs. Its national team includes 75 of licensed mental health professionals and 20 psychiatric consultants.
As part of the collaboration, CommonSpirit’s primary care doctors will screen patients for anxiety and depression, then promptly pass those who need additional services on to a dedicated group of remotely located Concert Health care managers. After the warm handoff, a care manager will develop a behavioral health care plan for the patient and serve as a liaison between CommonSpirit’s primary care physician and a Concert Health psychiatric provider.
While the behavioral health team will make recommendations for any necessary medication, the primary care physician will write the prescriptions. As for care managers, they will provide a mix of medication management, goal setting and evidence-based approaches. Plus, they’ll be available to meet with their patients regularly by phone, video or in-person at a CommonSpirit location.
CommonSpirit and Concert Health have debuted the integrated care partnership in Bakersfield, California, an area with high unmet behavioral health needs. They hope to scale the program across central California later this year and expand into additional markets in 2021.
The partnership illustrates the health care system’s growing commitment to behavioral health care. Recognizing the impact behavioral health has on patient outcomes and costs, medical providers are focusing more and more on holistic approaches, with CommonSpirit being the latest to do so.
“To bridge long-standing gaps between mental and physical health care, we need to turn to evidence-based models that integrate these areas of care and provide real outcomes. Especially for the vulnerable or underserved, seeking behavioral health care in the community can be challenging due to stigma lack of access, and prohibitive costs,” Christine Brocato, vice president of strategic innovation at CommonSpirit Health, said in a press release announcing the news. “By offering coordinated behavioral health services from Concert Health to CommonSpirit’s patients utilizing the collaborative care model, we have one team working together to meet all of the patient’s medical and behavioral health care needs in a matter of hours, rather than fragmenting care through referrals that take weeks.”