For Immediate Release
Contact: Rob Grant, Director, Communications & Member Services
202.966.7300, Ext. 119
AACAP, Along with Seventeen Organizations, Express Support for the Collaborate in an Orderly and Cohesive Manner (COCM) Act Which Would Bolster Innovative Model of Provision of Mental Health Care
Washington, D.C., September 13, 2021 – Today 18 organizations announced their support for the Collaborate in an Orderly and Cohesive Manner (COCM) Act which will improve access to evidence-based mental health and substance use care by supporting and investing in the implementation of the Collaborative Care Model in primary care offices.
In the Collaborative Care Model, a primary care physician, a psychiatric consultant and care manager work as a team to identify and provide evidence-based treatment for mental health conditions, measure patients’ progress and adjust care when appropriate. The model is supported by more than 90 research studies demonstrating its efficacy in improving patient outcomes and is paid by Medicare, most private insurers, and many states’ Medicaid programs.
Despite its strong evidence base, the Collaborative Care Model has not been implemented on a wide scale yet. The Collaborate in an Orderly and Cohesive Manner (COCM) Act, introduced by Reps. Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX) and Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), will provide primary care practices start-up funds and technical assistance as they adopt the model. The bill also provides funds for research to build the evidence base for other models of integrated behavioral health care.
“As an organization dedicated to the health and well-being of children and adolescents everywhere, the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry strongly supports the collaborative care model and the promise it holds for reaching and treating children and adolescents with unmet mental health needs. We are grateful to be part of this collaborative effort and thank Reps. Fletcher and Beutler for their leadership in fighting for stronger mental health coverage for all Americans.”
– Gabrielle A. Carlson, MD, president, American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
“An underfunded mental health care system and a strained primary care workforce could exacerbate the unmet need for mental health care. Family physicians are well-positioned to address their patients’ mental health issues and receive high-quality training in these areas. Integrating primary care and mental health services is timely and important given the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, where we expect to see an increase in patients seeking treatment. Primary care physicians, who often have strong relationships with patients before the onset of mental illness and a deep understanding of social context and community factors, will be critical in treating unmet mental health needs—now—and for years to come.”
– Ada Stewart, MD, FAAFP, president, American Academy of Family Physicians
“The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) is pleased to endorse the Collaborate in an Orderly and Cohesive Manner Act. Typically, it can take 11 years from the onset of symptoms to when a person receives treatment for a mental health condition, and frankly that is not time we can afford to waste. Reps. Lizzie Fletcher and Jaime Herrera Beutler have introduced a bill that centers on support for collaborative care models that will help ensure that patients receive prompt behavioral health treatment in the office of their primary care physician, including their obstetrician-gynecologist. By providing care in this setting, it increases the number of patients likely to be treated for mental health disorders by giving them immediate access to a physician, a psychiatric consultant, and care manager all working together in a coordinated fashion. We thank Reps. Fletcher and Herrera Beutler for their leadership and hope this bill helps to eliminate both the stigma around mental health conditions and the barriers to care that can prevent people from healing.”
– J. Martin Tucker, MD, FACOG, president, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
“In order to best care for our patients we need to care for their whole person, that includes both their physical and mental health together. The Collaborative Care Model is an important approach in helping us to do just that. Most patients with behavioral health needs use their physician’s office as their primary source of care, and this model integrates the different types of care our patients need, including mental health, so that the patient’s care team is integrated.”
– George M. Abraham, MD, MPH, FACP, FIDSA, president, American College of Physicians
“America’s employees and their families continue to struggle with mental health challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Collaborative Care Models, which integrate behavioral health and primary care, are proven to significantly reduce the burden of behavioral health issues, improve patient outcomes and are more cost efficient than usual care. HR Policy Association commends Reps. Fletcher and Herrera Beutler for introducing this important legislation that will improve patient access to high-quality integrative care.”
– D. Mark Wilson, president and CEO, American Health Policy Institute/VP, Health and Employment Policy, HR Policy Association.
"Many physicians have not participated in promising innovations in care delivery such as the Collaborative Care Model because they lack the financial reserves to make the up-front investments needed for practice transformation. This legislation provides an important bridge to help medical practices, especially small and medium practices, make investments in accessible and equitable treatment for their patients’ behavioral, mental, and physical health needs."
– Gerald E. Harmon, MD, president, American Medical Association
“The Collaborative Care Model is a proven method of reaching more Americans with quality mental health care services. The mental health impacts of COVID-19 and the way it uprooted our lives led to high levels of anxiety and depression and record overdoses in our country. We applaud Reps. Fletcher and Herrera Beutler for introducing this legislation, which promotes an innovative solution that will help more Americans get the high-quality treatment they need.”
– Vivian Pender, MD, president, American Psychiatric Association
“The Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness (ABHW) is pleased to endorse the Collaborate in an Orderly and Cohesive Manner Act. Driving integrated behavioral and physical health care is a policy priority for ABHW and we support the evidence-based approach taken by the Collaborative Care Model. This legislation will help decrease the behavioral health workforce shortage by providing behavioral health in more settings and allowing behavioral health providers to practice at the top of their license. In addition to promoting this valuable model of care, the Collaborate in an Orderly and Cohesive Manner Act also funds important research to evaluate other integration models and assists in ensuring that models that move forward are grounded in evidence-based practice.”
– Pamela Greenberg, MPP, president and CEO, Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness
“Expanding access to the Collaborative Care Model nationally is one of the single most important things we can do to improve and save countless lives for people struggling with depression, addiction, and other mental health concerns. Most mental health conditions are fully treatable when detected early, and the Collaborative Care Model improves the ability to detect and treat mental illness as soon as symptoms begin. This is especially important for youth and young adults, as most mental health conditions emerge then.”
– Andy Keller, president and CEO, Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute
“Employers care about the holistic support of the health and wellbeing of employees and their families. Expansion of the Collaborative Care Model across the country is foundational to a healthcare system that treats mental illness on a par with other illnesses. Improving access and quality in primary care is the key to early diagnosis and evidence-based treatment and to achieve this behavioral health must be effectively integrated into primary care.”
– Michael Thompson, president and CEO, National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions
“NASW applauds Rep. Lizzie Fletcher and Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler for introducing this critical legislation that promotes integrated health care. The Collaborative Care Model enables more people to have access to quality mental health and behavioral health services in consultation with their primary care physician. Social Workers regard mental health services as a critical component of holistic health care. The Collaborative Care Model is also essential as it addresses access barriers and will reduce disparities.”
– Mildred C. Joyner, DPS, MSW, BSW, LCSW, president, National Association of Social Workers
“The Collaborative Care Model is a well-understood treatment model that is strongly supported by clinical evidence to improve patient outcomes. We should be doing everything we can to encourage broader adoption of collaborative care in the primary care setting. The model has been shown to benefit people suffering from substance use disorder and expand access to addiction treatment through integration of services. Promoting its use for SUD will improve outcomes and save lives, especially where treatment options lack, and stigma endures.”
– Gary Mendell, Founder and CEO, Shatterproof