Mental Health Needs in NC Soar Beyond Available Specialty Health Providers
Community Care of North Carolina is helping to meet that need
Raleigh, N.C. (May 13, 2019) - Many North Carolinians are living with an untreated mental health condition because the state’s mental health needs have grown to exceed the capacity of current behavioral health specialty providers. The problem is especially acute in pediatrics and rural areas of the state.
One approach to address these needs that is gaining notice is the Collaborative Care Model (CoCM). Designed for use in the primary care setting, this model gives patients with mild to moderate behavioral or mental health issues - typically depression and anxiety – access to quality care through their existing family doctor.
It’s estimated that 75-80% of U.S. children and adolescents aged 6-17 who need mental health care services do not receive them. N.C. currently ranks 38th in the U.S. in regard to in-state access to mental health care.
At least in N.C., CCNC is utilizing the CoCM as a way to change that statistic.
“Physicians often find themselves in a difficult situation when they identify a mental health problem but are unable to find the recommended mental health treatment within their community,” said Jennie Byrne, MD, deputy chief medical officer at Community Care of NC (CCNC). “Adherence to an evidence-based model of integrated care—such as the CoCM— can make a real difference with patients. It improves the system of care through decreased cost, improved quality, and enhanced patient and provider experience.”
Primary care physicians consult with a CoCM team, consisting of a psychiatrist and behavioral health care manager, to obtain specialized mental health expertise to treat their patients. This team also supports family doctors by helping identify and track patients with behavioral health needs, enhancing patient self-management, supporting additional treatment, and consulting on best practices for mental health conditions.
The results speak for themselves showing that the CoCM has doubled the effectiveness of usual care for depression while lowering long-term health costs.
“When accessible, and implemented correctly in the provider setting, this model can provide streamlined care for patients and support physicians in their ability to treat mild to moderate depression and anxiety,” added Byrne.
A patient example of the success of CoCM is illustrated in “Daniel’s story.”
About Community Care of North Carolina
Community Care of North Carolina (CCNC) is a community-based, public-private partnership available in all 100 counties for North Carolina Medicaid recipients. It is the largest and longest-running medical home system in the U.S. CCNC is known nationwide for reducing healthcare costs while improving patient outcomes. CCNC’s care managers are making a difference for 1 out of every 6 patients in N.C. resulting in hospital admissions reduced by 27% and readmissions reduced by 59%, $645 million saved on healthcare costs during the last two years, and $2 billion in projected savings by 2022. To learn how CCNC improves quality and saves millions of dollars every year, visit www.communitycarenc.org or call (919) 745-2434.