Research on Alternative Payment Model Finds Cost Savings


A recently published study in Translational Behavioral Medicine examined the financial impact of the Sustaining Healthcare Across Integrated Primary Care Efforts (SHAPE) demonstration project. This project assessed the cost savings of integrated behavioral health services in six primary care practices in Colorado. An analysis of practices’ claims data found that those practices receiving non-fee-for-service payments for integrated behavioral health had net savings of approximately $1.08 million for public payers (i.e., Medicare and Medicaid) over the course of 18 months. The results of this study suggest these alternative payment models (APMs) may help financially sustain integrated behavioral health in primary care. Further, APMs may provide a way for policymakers and payers to reduce costs of healthcare, support primary care, and improve access to behavioral health services.

National Integration Academy Council (NIAC) member Stephen Melek and former AHRQ Academy Principal Investigator Benjamin Miller were co-authors of this study.