Beacon Health Options White Paper Calls for Mental Health Care Integration

Collaborative care model builds bridges between behavioral health and primary care practices to improve the health of people with mental illness

Beacon Health Options (Beacon) has issued a white paper on what the evidence reveals as the most successful approach to integrating behavioral and physical health care. The nation’s premier behavioral health management company’s extensive research points to the collaborative care model (CCM) as the most effective approach to improved health for people with mental illness.

Although mental health conditions affect more than one in four Americans at some point in their lives, most people in the United States do not receive the care they need due to a fragmented health care system. As the “best-in-class” model, the CCM addresses this fragmentation by supporting the delivery of behavioral health in primary care settings.
Pioneered and replicated over decades by Dr. Jürgen Unützer at the University of Washington, the CCM is organized around five distinct components, that when applied collectively, improve health:

  • Patient-centered team care
  • Population-based care
  • Measurement-based care
  • Evidenced-based
  • Accountable care

For people with serious mental illness (SMI), the paper describes the need for integrating primary care expertise into specialty mental health settings, such as community mental health centers.

“The collaborative care model is tantamount to redesigning mental health care delivery,” said Dr. Emma Stanton, Beacon Health Options Associate Chief Medical Officer. “High quality care requires getting mental health out of its silo and integrated with the rest of health and social care.”

The white paper sets out a roadmap for delivering care that makes it easier for all practitioners, both primary care and behavioral health providers, to graduate from practicing in isolation to delivering care holistically. It also highlights Beacon’s substantial expertise with many facets of integration, including data analytics, harnessing new technologies, practicing team-based care and bringing specialist knowledge of mental illness and substance use disorders.

“Despite their good intentions and commitment to caring for their patients with mental illness, for too long behavioral health and primary care providers have missed the mark by not building bridges between their practices,” said Tim Murphy, Beacon Health Options CEO. “We are committed to working with our network of providers to diffuse the best practices described in this white paper to bring about a better system of care for those we serve.”

For more information on this issue and to download the full white paper, visit our Beacon Lens blog at