Colorado primary care and behavioral health integration project expands to Oregon

SHAPE’s global payment model supp

Grand Junction, Colo. and Bend Ore., June 18, 2013–Primary care and behavioral health transformation is taking SHAPE in Oregon and Colorado.

A western Colorado payment reform initiative to support integrated behavioral health in primary care settings will soon expand to Oregon. Colorado’s global payment model for primary care and behavioral health integration, known as SHAPE (Sustaining Healthcare Across integrated Primary care Efforts), is being implemented in Bend, Ore., and surrounding counties. In May, the Central Oregon Health Council, which provides governance for the region’s Care Coordination Organization, formally agreed to replicate the Colorado project.

SHAPE participants in both states will seek to rethink and re-envision the role of primary care and behavioral health as well as change how that innovative model is financially supported. The pilot includes primary care sites and payers that, on their own initiative, have taken steps toward integration that is “unfettered by fee-for-service,” said University of Colorado-Denver’s Benjamin F. Miller, PsyD, principal investigator. Miller is director of the Office of Integrated Healthcare Research and Policy at the UCD Department of Family Medicine.

“The current payment system creates disincentives for collaboration, communication and coordination among clinicians in multiple disciplines,” he said. “Treating behavioral health and physical health separately has resulted in poorer outcomes and higher costs. The body of evidence supporting integration of behavioral health in the primary care setting continues to grow.”[1],[2],[3]
SHAPE is already underway in western Colorado, with reformed payments from Rocky Mountain Health Plans (RMHP). A partner in the Colorado Beacon demonstration, RMHP launched the innovative project with support from the Collaborative Family Healthcare Association ( and the University of Colorado-Denver Department of Family Medicine in late 2012. Using new global payments from RMHP, pilot practices in Grand Junction and surrounding communities are working to test the impact of fully sustainable, comprehensive primary care that includes behavioral health care.

“The integration of primary care and behavioral health through SHAPE creates financial sustainability in western Colorado and will provide a tangible, replicable, scalable model for other communities,” said Miller. “There are many behavioral health integration projects around the country. What makes SHAPE different is the payment model. It’s impossible to fix the financial sustainability problem for integration in a per-procedure, fee-for-service environment. It takes something disruptive-a global payment system that will support comprehensive primary care that has integrated behavioral health.”

Miller is leading the evaluation of SHAPE, while RMHP’s payment demonstration provides insights for a growing learning network of collaborating leaders, providers and payers.

Oregon will be the first location outside Colorado to adopt the pilot. The state has been working on care coordination and behavioral health integration, and the SHAPE model, Miller said, “is a game changer.”

“This is common sense health care,” said Jim Diegel, president and CEO of St. Charles Health System and vice chair of the Central Oregon Health Council. “Not only will patients receive more comprehensive care, but also their visits will be paid as a global payment, circumventing potential problems with lack of coverage for behavioral health. This cutting-edge approach is a great example of what can be accomplished when providers and payers collaborate.”

Both the Colorado and Oregon programs hold great promise, with payer support and opportunities for cross-pollination. Miller expects the model to expand. It only makes sense, he said. “For both the patient and the provider, global payment allows for more flexibility and comprehensive addressing of whole person health. Providers are not trapped in a workflow designed to generate volume-based payments. Instead, the payment system supports integrated, coordinated, patient-centered care.”

[1] Butler M, et al. Integration of Mental Health/Substance Abuse and Primary Care No. 173. AHRQ Publication No. 09-E003. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. October 2008.

[2] Goddell S, et al. Mental Disorders and Medical Comorbidity, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Policy Brief, 2011.

[3] Kathol RG, et al. “Barriers to Physical and Mental Condition Integrated Service Delivery.” Psychosomatic Medicine. July/August 2010 72:511-518.

About the Colorado Beacon Consortium

The Colorado Beacon Consortium is made up of executive-level representation from four mission-driven, not-for-profit, Western Colorado-based organizations, all of which have nationally acknowledged track records of coordination to achieve superior outcomes. They are Mesa County Independent Physicians’ Practice Association, Quality Health Network, Rocky Mountain Health Plans and St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center. The Colorado Beacon Consortium’s mission is to optimize the efficiency, quality and performance of our health care system, and integrate the delivery of care and use of clinical information to improve community health. The geographic focus of the Consortium’s activities includes the Colorado counties of Mesa, Delta, Montrose, Garfield, Gunnison, Pitkin and Rio Blanco. To learn more, visit


About St. Charles Health System

St. Charles Health System, Inc., headquartered in Bend, Ore., owns and operates St. Charles Bend, Madras and Redmond, and leases and operates Pioneer Memorial Hospital. It also owns family care clinics in Bend, Prineville, Redmond and Sisters. St. Charles is a private, not-for-profit Oregon corporation and is the largest employer in Central Oregon with more than 3,000 employees. In addition, there are more than 350 active medical staff members and nearly 200 visiting medical staff members who partner with the health system to provide a wide range of care and service to our communities.

orts comprehensive patient-centered care