CommonSpirit Health Links With Startup To Integrate Behavioral And Primary Care

The large hospital and outpatient care provider CommonSpirit Health is partnering with the startup behavioral health company Concert Health to create a new model of primary medical care that better addresses depression and anxiety.

CommonSpirit, which was formed last year through the merger of Catholic Health Initiatives and Dignity Health, said patients with commercial health coverage, Medicaid insurance for poor Americans and Medicare benefits for the elderly will be able to access behavioral health support from a specialist they are connected to “in hours rather than waiting weeks to get an appointment,” CommonSpirit said Wednesday. 

Because CommonSpirit has more than 1,000 care sites and 137 hospitals across 21 states, those involved see the effort offering faster and higher quality behavioral care at a time when access is challenging, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic.

CommonSpirit primary care doctors will “now have a dedicated group of behavioral health clinicians to make warm-handoffs for patients struggling with depression, anxiety, or other behavioral health conditions,” the companies said Wednesday. CommonSpirit said its doctors will connect patients to Concert Health’s “remotely-located” behavioral care managers.

“This model will integrate behavioral health services into CommonSpirit’s primary care practices, providing patients immediate access to counselors as part of their primary care team, and giving the physician the support of a psychiatric provider to help them diagnose and treat these conditions effectively,” CommonSpirit and Concert Health said in a statement Wednesday.

Increasingly providers of medical care are forming closer ties with behavioral health as a way to ensure a more holistic approach to healthcare delivery. This also comes as health insurance companies increasingly integrate medical care and behavioral healthcare into their payment models.

“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,” Christine Brocato, vice president of strategic innovation at CommonSpirit Health said. “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 mental health care needs in a matter of hours, rather than fragmenting care through referrals that take weeks. Care simply must be inclusive of mind and body.”

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