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VOLUME 46 | NUMBER 5 | OCTOBER 2011


Designing Payment for Collaborative Care for Depression in Primary Care

Keywords. Collaborative Care for Depression; payment

Objective. To design a bundled case rate for Collaborative Care for Depression (CCD) that aligns incentives with evidence-based depression care in primary care.

Data Source. A clinical information system used by all care managers in a randomized controlled trial of CCD for older primary care patients.

Study Design. We conducted an empirical investigation of factors accounting for variation in CCD resource use over time and across patients. CCD resource use at the patient-episode and patient-month levels was measured by number of care manager contacts and direct patient contact time and analyzed with count data (Poisson or negative binomial) models.

Principal Findings. Episode-level resource use varies substantially with patient's time in the program. Monthly use declines sharply in the first 6 months regardless of treatment response or remission status, but it remains stable afterwards. An adjusted episode or monthly case rate design better matches payment with variation in resource use compared with a fixed design.

Conclusions. Our findings lend support to an episode payment adjusted by number of months receiving CCD and a monthly payment adjusted by the ordinal month. Nonpayment tools including program certification and performance evaluation and reward systems are needed to fully align incentives.

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