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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: February 16, 2023 09:41 AM
From: Senator Frank A. Farry
To: All Senate members
Subject: Collaborative Care Model
I plan to introduce legislation to improve access to mental health care in Pennsylvania through the Collaborative Care Model (CoCM), an integrated care model that can deliver timely psychiatric care in the primary care setting. In this model, the care team is led by a primary care provider (PCP) and includes a consulting psychiatrist and behavioral health care manager. The team cares for a defined group of patients and closely tracks each patient’s progress using an evidence and measurement-based care plan. The most recent studies show that for every $1 spent on care delivered in the CoCM, there is a $6.50 return on investment in improved health and productivity.

In our state, over 1.8 million individuals report having a mental illness, while 1.7 million residents live in a community that does not have enough mental health professionals. The isolation and anxiety caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has compounded the effects of these diagnoses, taking an even greater toll on our state’s mental health. With a growing youth mental health crisis and a growing rate of opioid deaths, we must look toward solutions that expand the capacity of our existing workforce. Better care coordination through the integration of mental health care in the primary care setting has been shown to improve patient access, outcomes, and satisfaction. Three decades of research and over 90 randomized controlled trials have identified the Collaborative Care Model as being effective in delivering integrated care. Several of our state’s largest healthcare systems, such as Penn Medicine and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, have already established CoCM practices, but have struggled to engage PCP practices in more rural parts of the state due to the start-up costs of the model.

My legislation would create a grant program for small and solo practices to cover their CoCM start-up costs, prioritizing those practices in rural and underserved areas of Pennsylvania. Additionally, my bill would establish a regional network of technical assistance centers to support promotion and implementation of the grants.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation. 

Introduced as SB445