When 25 percent of the payments to community health clinics were based on quality of care, patients received better care and had better depression outcomes. The results of this initiative are published in the American Journal of Public Health.
University of Washington researchers examined records from almost 8,000 patients treated for depression in 29 community health clinics in the Washington State Mental Health Integration Program before and after the implementation of a pay-for-performance incentive. After the incentive was started, patients were seen more quickly and were more likely to receive consultation from a psychiatrist. They were also more likely to show improvements in their depression.The Washington State Mental Health Integration Program provides medical and mental health services for low-income adults who are temporarily disabled due to a physical or mental health condition and expected to be unemployed for at least 90 days. This program is funded by the State of Washington and administered by the Community Health Plan of Washington, a non-profit managed care plan. In King County the program also covers military veterans and their family members, the uninsured, low-income mothers and their children, and low-income older adults. Services in King County are also funded by a voter-approved levy that is administered by Public Health – Seattle & King County.
Treatment for depression and other common mental disorders is provided through an innovative team approach in which primary care providers are supported by a trained mental health care coordinator and a consulting psychiatrist. Expert faculty members from the UW’s Advancing Integrated Mental Health Solutions (AIMS) Center provide training, technical assistance, and a web-based tracking system to support systematic outcome tracking and quality improvement.