Researchers/Policy Makers

Advancing Care Together (ACT) aims to combine physical and mental health treatment

111 new sites create ACT portfolio

AURORA,Colo. (Aug. 10, 2011) - A new and collaborative program led by medical experts at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus aims to bring together local, state and national leaders focused on improving primary care, mental health care and substance abuse treatment. The Advancing Care Together (ACT) program will tap the expertise of clinicians on the front line and work with them to change their practices by addressing the fragmentation that has led to the separate treatment of physical and mental health problems. This three-year program is funded by the Colorado Health Foundation and will be housed at the CU School of Medicine Department of Family Medicine. "It is time to move beyond the separate histories of physical and mental health, and to achieve whole-person care for everyone,"" said ACT Director, Larry A. Green, MD, professor of family medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

In July 2011, state and national leaders on the ACT Steering Committee selected 11 Colorado practice sites that comprise the AACT portfolio. These Colorado innovators are people who work tirelessly in primary care practices and community mental health centers in different types of communities serving diverse populations under varied business models. These awardees offered their best ideas about how to redesign their systems of care, and proposed practical solutions to better integrate the care of their patients and clients. Colorado and other states stand to learn a great deal from these innovators about how to work together to improve care.

ACT has a strong evaluation team led by Dr. Deborah Cohen of Oregon Health Sciences University who will assess the effects of the proposed strategies and help learn how to make sustainable changes.

"The ACT program findings will be invaluable for other community partners and their integration efforts," said Kelly Dunkin, vice--president of philanthropy for the Colorado Health Foundation. "We also hope that ACT will continue to encourage the integration movement in Colorado, which falls in line with the Foundation's mission to make us the healthiest state in the nation." The formal launch of this program takes place September 16-18 at Cheyenne Mountain Resort in Colorado Springs.

The 11 Sites that Make Up the ACT Portfolio

Axis Health System, Durango Practice: Cortez Clinic Project:Using a Personal Health Profile to Facilitate Integrated CarePrincipal Investigator: Pamela Wise-Romero, PhD

Bender Medical Group, Inc., Fort Collins Practice: Merriment Family Medicine Project:AIMS: Automation of Mental Health ServicesPrincipal Investigator:  John Bender, MD

Denver Health and Hospital, Denver Practice: Lowry Family Health Center Project:Meeting Patient Preferences for Behavioral Health Screening and TreatmentPrincipal Investigator: Rob Keeley, MD

Jefferson Center for Mental Health, Wheat Ridge Practices:  Independence Outpatient Services, West Colfax Outpatient Services, Cedar Adult Intensive Services Project:Healthcare Homes without WallsPrincipal Investigator: Donald Bechtold, MD

Kaiser Permanente Colorado, Denver Practice: TBN Project:Practical Approaches to Integrating Mental and Physical HealthcarePrincipal Investigator: Arne Beck, PhD

MidValley Family Practice, PC, Basalt Practice: MidValley Family Practice, PC Project:Optimizing Healthy Lifestyle ManagementPrincipal Investigator: Glenn Kotz, MD

Plan de Salud del Valle, Inc. Practice: Salud Family Health Center, Brighton Project:Integrated Primary Care Workforce Development in the Medical HomePrincipal Investigator: Andrea Auxier, PhD

Primary Care Partners, PC, Grand Junction Practices:  Western Colorado Pediatric Associates, Family Physicians of Colorado, Behavioral Health and Wellness Project:Expanding the Patient Centered Medical HomePrincipal Investigator: Patrice Whistler, MD

Southeast Mental Health Services , La Junta Practice: High Plains Community Health Center Project:Lamar REACT: Rural Excellence in Advancing Care TogetherPrincipal Investigator:  Jay Brooke, LCSW

Univ. of CO, Colorado Springs/CU Aging Center, Colorado Springs Practice: Peak Vista Community Health Centers

Project:Cognitive and Psychological Screening to Enhance Integrated Care for SeniorsPrincipal Investigator: Michael Kenny, PsyD

Westminster Medical Clinic, Westminster  Practice: Westminster Medical Clinic Project:Behavioral Health-A Shared Service ModelPrincipal Investigator: Scott Hammond, MD

Formerly submitted as a news release for the University of Colorado Denver|Anschutz Medical Campus Jackie.brinkman@ucdenver.edu; 303-724-1525