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ASU Doctor of Behavioral Health Joins PCORI Integrated Health Study

By

Ronald ODonnell

The Arizona State University Doctor of Behavioral Health program in collaboration with multiple Banner Health primary care clinics will take part in a national study of integrated behavioral health under the University of Vermont and Patient Centered Outcome Research Institute (PCORI) grant. The University of Vermont (UVT) research group has been awarded a 40-site national trial by the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to assess the impact of degree of integration of behavioral health care on health and behavioral outcomes. The award is "Pragmatic Clinical Studies and Large Simple Trials to Evaluate Patient-Centered Outcomes" [Read the full PCORI announcement here http://www.pcori.org/research-results/2015/integrating-behavioral-health-and-primary-care ] This is a five-year study beginning in 2016 funded at $18,508,211. It compares co-location with integration of behavioral services in primary care. The UVT research team is led by the Primary Investigator Ben Littenberg M.D, Rodger Kessler, Ph.D., ABPP, Co-Principal Investigator, and Connie Van Eeghen Dr.PH., Co-Investigator.

The ASU DBH and Applied Clinical and Management Research
Dr. Kessler is also a part-time faculty with the Arizona State University Doctor of Behavioral Health (DBH) program. Dr. Kessler's role in the DBH program is to facilitate the development of a new applied clinical and management DBH research program. Consistent with the mission and vision of the DBH this research program will be focused on practical, feasible practice research designed to evaluate the value of integrated behavioral health programs in achieving the healthcare reform "Triple Aim" of improved patient experience of care, improved population health, and decreased cost of care. This direction is a natural evolution of the DBH longstanding focus on a curriculum that combines evidence-based integrated care practice, quality and performance improvement, business operations and entrepreneurship. The DBH curriculum is geared towards an inter-professional student body with a shared interest in developing integrated care programs that balance the needs for high-quality patient care with sound utilization, cost and financial analysis in order to leverage the critical role of integrated behavioral health in United States healthcare reform.

The University of Vermont PCORI Study
One aim of the study is to determine if increased integration of evidence-based behavioral treatment in an "integrated" model of care (behavioral health consultants specially trained to work in the primary care clinic as members of the primary care team) compared to "co-located" care (behavioral health consultants who work with or near primary care clinics in order to increase the chances a patient will follow-up on a primary care referral and make an appointment for behavioral care). The integrated care practices will be the active "intervention" in the study, while the "control" is co-location of a behavioral specialist within or near the primary clinic, but without increased integration. Another aim of the study is to determine if a structured consultation and training program for primary care practices leads to improved care processes and outcomes. A third aim is to determine contextual factors specific to the type of integrated behavioral care and the type of practice setting influence health outcomes.

The sites will be randomly assigned to either integrated or co-located models. The integrated care sites will receive a protocol-driven, evidence-based, stepped-care, data-driven structured process improvement support for practice re-design. The Arizona State University Doctor of Behavioral Health program, the University of Massachusetts Center for Integrated Care, and the Unviersity of Vermont School of Medicine are collaborating on the development of asynchronous training modules for the integrated care model. The three-stage structured improvement process includes preparation, design and implementation led by an on-site trained facilitator. An Integrated Behavioral Health ToolkitTM with over two-dozen clinical, operational, and financial strategies and tactics will guide the practices in each stage of process improvement.

PI for ASU Subcontract - Learning Module Development contact:
C.R. Macchi, PhD
(602) 496-1355
crmacchi@asu.edu

University of Vermont contact:
Sylvie Frisbie
802-656-4560
Sylvie.Frisbie@uvm.edu