December 17, 2019

Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare’s Integrated Healthcare Model Yields Improved Health Outcomes and Reduction in Healthcare Costs

Cascadia publicly shared results following the first year of its integrated healthcare model, which included reduced healthcare costs, improved quality of care and changes in health outcomes. Cascadia became a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) in 2017, which provided the necessary funding to introduce care coordination and primary care services to its continuum of care. Cascadia now serves over 3,700 clients with integrated healthcare.

Cascadia found that clients receiving integrated healthcare over this time period experienced, on average, reductions in potentially preventable emergency department utilization and hospitalizations:

  • Reduced emergency room visits by 18%
  • Reduced inpatient hospital visits by 23%

This reduction in the utilization of expensive healthcare services is expected to result in substantially lower annual healthcare costs. “These are significant results that support the need for continued funding for the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) model, which has enabled an integrated care approach for our clients,” said Jeffrey Eisen, Chief Medical Officer at Cascadia. “By providing preventative and proactive services, we can significantly change quality of care and health outcomes for individuals, as well as reduce financial strain on our healthcare system and our payers.”

Individuals struggling with mental illness – the primary population Cascadia serves – are much more likely to have a diagnosis of a chronic illness, like hypertension, COPD, or chronic pain, which is predictive of greater emergency department and inpatient hospital visits. These visits not only lead to increased costs for healthcare providers, but induce additional trauma for patients, which can have severe long-term effects on recovery and well-being. Cascadia addresses this disparity by a coordination of mental health, substance use disorder, and primary care services in a supportive setting to produce the most effective approach to caring for people with complex healthcare needs.

Integrated care has led to improved results not only for the individuals Cascadia serves, but also for health providers and the greater community. “Utilizing the Emergency Department for preventable acute health concerns is a costly and inefficient avenue for care,” said Jeremy Lynn, Regional Medical Director of Emergency Services at Providence Health. “Cascadia’s integrated healthcare model is fundamentally changing the way people with mental illness are receiving care, ultimately improving health outcomes for patients and reducing strain on our city’s overcrowded emergency departments. It’s truly a win-win for everyone involved in our healthcare system.”

Looking ahead, Cascadia is continuing to evolve its integrated healthcare model through population health efforts that further emphasize diabetes management, chronic pain management, decreased emergency department utilization and medical admissions, and tobacco cessation.

To learn more about Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare and its integrated healthcare model, visit https://cascadiabhc.org/integrated-healthcare/.