Mental Health/Primary Care Collaboration

A Collaborative Model for Children's Mental Health

Cambridge Health Alliance is working to develop new ways to provide mental health services in both adult and pediatric primary care settings.

One of our projects, based at the Windsor Street Care Center in Cambridge, MA, involves a collaborative practice approach between Child Psychiatry and Pediatrics to better serve the mental health needs of children and teens. This three-year effort is being funded through a Making Health Care Affordable grant from the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation.

AACAP poster presentation in San Diego

Findings of A Collaborative Model for Children’s Mental Health project were presented at the 2014 AACAP poster presentation in San Diego.

The project was designed to address current healthcare challenges related to access, quality and expense. Health care providers face multiple challenges as care delivery systems undergo rapid change. New ways to engage children and families are needed for optimal outcomes. Our goal is to improve both the quality of care and the patient experience while containing costs.

The specific objectives of this grant are to:

  • Conduct a quantitative analysis of a combined Network Health/CHA EMR database to identify characteristics of pediatric patients with the greatest mental health care costs.
  • Implement an Active Consultation model involving both primary care and specialty mental health providers, and family support specialists working with families of youth with the highest mental health care expenditures, to enhance engagement. We believe that increased engagement will result in improved quality of care and reduced mental health service expenditures.
  • Evaluate the intervention to assess its preliminary effectiveness on trends in type and amount of services delivered to the target group of children.

This study is led by CHA staff Katherine Grimes, MD, MPH, Ben Cook, PhD, MPH and Greg Hagan, MD.