Costs of implementing and sustaining enhanced collaborative care programs involving community partners

Apr 18, 2019 | Hoeft

BACKGROUND: Collaborative care is an evidence-based program for treating depression in primary care. We sought to expand this model by recruiting clinics interested in incorporating community partners (i.e., community-based organizations (CBO) and/or family members) in the care team. Seven sites implemented evidence-based collaborative care programs with community partners while collecting information on costs of implementing and sustaining programs.

METHODS: Sites retrospectively collected data on planning and implementation costs with technical assistance from study researchers. Sites also prospectively collected cost of care activities over a 1-month period once the program was implemented to determine resources needed to sustain programs. Personnel salary costs were adjusted, adding 30% for benefits and 30% for administrative overhead.

RESULTS: The programs implemented varied considerably in staffing, involvement of care partners, and allocation of costs. Total planning and implementation costs varied from $39,280 to $60,575. The largest implementation cost category involved workflow development and ranged from $16,325 to $31,375 with the highest costs in this category attributed to the most successful implementation among clinic-CBO programs. Following implementation, cost per patient over the 1-month period ranged from $154 to $544. Ongoing strategic decision-making and administrative costs, which were included in cost of care, ranged from $284 to $2328 for the month.

CONCLUSIONS: Sites implemented collaborative care through differing partnerships, staffing, and related costs. Costs to implement and sustain programs developed in partnership are often not collected but are crucial to understanding financial aspects of developing sustainable partnerships. Assessing such costs is feasible and can inform future partnership efforts.

PubMed Abstract

Hoeft, T. J., Wilcox, H., Hinton, L., & Unutzer, J. (2019). Costs of implementing and sustaining enhanced collaborative care programs involving community partners. Implement Sci, 14(1), 37. doi:10.1186/s13012-019-0882-6