Advancing Care Together

This four-year program aims to discover practical models to integrate mental health, substance use, and primary care services for people whose health problems and health care needs span physical, emotional, and behavioral domains. The program has funded 11 demonstration projects that have been organized as a set of diverse comparative case studies and will be linked to support cross-project learning.

ACT invites primary care practices and community mental health centers to learn what can be accomplished in real world settings to integrate care for children, adolescents and adults. To optimize learning, ACT has funded a portfolio of Colorado projects in diverse geographic areas and that employ a range of care delivery models.

ACT relies on the imagination and practical knowledge of people working day-to-day to care for people within their communities. The program recognizes that individuals’ health care needs vary in severity and responsiveness to treatment, that local resources and barriers are highly variable, and that these realities may dictate what care is offered and where health care is received.

There should be no wrong door in a properly constructed system — whether people understand their problem as emotional, behavioral, or physical; their needs should be addressed in an integrated fashion.

The program’s goals are to:

  • Identify and test promising demonstrations to provide integrated care for patients and clients in primary care and community mental health settings.
  • Evaluate processes and outcomes of demonstrations to determine what strategies work and don’t work and what it takes to provide integrated care in real life settings.
  • Disseminate best practices and real-time lessons from ACT to other practices in Colorado trying to integrate care for their patients, as well as to other interested stakeholders.

The program is divided into three phases:

  • Phase 1 began with the release of the Call for Proposals and ended with the selection and funding of 11 demonstration projects.
  • Phase 2 consists of three years of active work on the implementation and on-the-ground learning and evaluation of the demonstration projects.
  • Phase 3 will encompass a period of targeted synthesis and distillation of ACT’s lessons with emphasis on diffusion of best practices across key audiences in Colorado and nationally.

The program’s organization and leadership:

  • Funded by The Colorado Health Foundation
  • Located at the University of Colorado Department of Family Medicine
  • Overseen by a steering committee of national and local experts
  • Directed by an experienced program office and evaluation team led by Dr. Larry Green and Dr. Deborah Cohen