Concert Health, AIMS Center Team Up on Collaborative Care Agreement for SMI Populations

Virtual telepsychiatry provider Concert Health has teamed up with the Advancing Integrated Mental Health Solutions (AIMS) Center at the University of Washington on a new collaborative care program.

The three-year partnership will focus on providing collaborative care for patients with complex psychiatric disorders, specifically identifying patients with bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Collaborative care, first developed by the AIMS Center in the early 2000s, integrates primary and behavioral health care services. Typically, the primary care provider is the leader in a patient’s care and is supported by a team of behavioral health clinicians, which can include care managers, psychiatrists and social workers.


“When you think about the number of individuals that are impacted by trauma, or prior traumatic experiences, a significant number of individuals that are seen in primary care practices, particularly in the underserved communities where this project focuses,” Virna Little, cofounder and special advisor of advocacy and research at Concert Health, told Behavioral Health Business. “Then [for patients with] bipolar… there are no psychiatric providers or resources. The ability for individuals to get a comprehensive psychiatric diagnostic evaluation and then collaborative care is going to be a game changer for them personally and also for the communities that are served.”

Concert Health is a virtual collaborative care platform that integrates primary and behavioral health. In 2022, the company raised $42 million in Series B funding.

Historically, getting a collaborative care model to scale has been difficult. Many local primary care clinics don’t have the resources to hire a case manager to coordinate collaborative care. Even for those that can have a case manager on staff, that point person can only manage a finite number of patients, according to Dr. John Fortney, professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Director, Division of Population Health and AIMS Center faculty member.


“The AIM Center in the past has worked almost exclusively with primary care clinics to hire train care managers,” Fortney said. “It’s working with one clinic at a time or maybe 10 clinics at a time, but it’s slow going. Working with Concert health just gives us the opportunity to do it at scale, to have a bigger impact.”

The program is funded through a $2.5 million award from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI).

The new program uses a centralized model, which allows primary care providers to refer a patient with a suspected behavioral health need to Concert Health. A member of Concert Health’s team can then contact the patient the same day or the next day and schedule a psychiatric evaluation.

“This allows the primary care provider to be really confident in a diagnosis, coordinate their care, and see the behavioral health notes so that they can really stay involved and engaged with the care,” Little said. “If they’re comfortable, they can eventually take over their prescribing for that patient and really consolidate their care into the primary care practice.”

While primary care physicians are often tasked with managing a patient’s behavioral health condition, many don’t feel they have the proper resources. According to a report by The Advisory Board, 37% of primary care doctors said they didn’t feel confident in prescribing behavioral health medications. Still, of those, 85% said they are prescribing the medications anyway.

The partnership and collaborative care as a whole aim to rectify this by giving primary providers access to behavioral health resources.

“A lot of primary care providers are not comfortable prescribing medications for bipolar disorder and so the ability to get a psychiatric evaluation and then psychiatric recommendations with concrete recommendations is really going to be a game changer for primary care providers,” Little said.

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