What Is COCM Service In Behavioral Health?

Mental health issues are today widespread across all parts of the globe. As a result, this has resulted in behavioral health issues, for instance, anxiety, substance or alcohol abuse, and depression, to name a few. This has made it a lot harder for people to lead productive, happier, and healthier lives, which is worrying because the world is generally becoming a lot more stressful due to poor work-life balance and financial strain. 

This increasing rate of mental health issues has necessitated health care systems to devise a solid plan for dealing with such problems. And it’s at this point that the collaborative care model (CoCM) in behavioral health comes into the picture. Continue reading to understand better what CoCM is in behavioral health and its benefits to society. Let’s get started.

Mental health protection and care. Vector Illustration with icon on white background
Mental health protection and care. Vector Illustration with icon on white background

What Is Collaborative Care Model (CoCM)?  

The collaborative care model (CoCM) is a kind of integrated care that the University of Washington designed, which uses a team-based and interdisciplinary approach when delivering evidence-based diagnoses, treatment, and subsequent care to the pinpointed patient population. Besides offering evidence-based care for substance use disorders and mental illness, CoCM helps boost patient satisfaction and enhances access as well as clinical outcomes. 

The systematic follow-up method embraced by CoCM arises because of the persistent nature of mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression. CoCM also follows the principles of effective chronic illness care that prioritizes defined patient populations monitored in a registry, treatment to target, and measurement-based practice. 

Because COCM Behavioral Health treatment is team-based, it includes a broad range of professionals such as mental health specialists, for instance, psychiatric nurse practitioners, social workers, psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers. It also includes a physician and other physical medicine experts involved in treating chronic conditions arising from mental health problems. Working as a team helps these professionals share knowledge and get better training, which in the long run helps them improve the quality of their services to the patient. In addition, it helps boost accountability which is essential in the delivery of general mental health care.  

In CoCM, a disorder-specific registry of patients is established to help patients pinpointed to be suffering from a repetitive disorder or mental illness and not showing any improvement despite undergoing routine primary care. This is where the Behavioral Health Care Manager (BHCM) employed by a primary care practice sets up planned screenings, assessments, and follow-ups for every patient in the registry. 

Mental Physical Health Bridge the Gap Puzzle Pieces 3d Illustration
Mental Physical Health Bridge the Gap Puzzle Pieces 3d Illustration

If the BHCM has a license to be a mental health specialist, they can offer short-term mental health therapy if need be. In contrast, the consulting psychiatrist will be mandated to evaluate the charts, assess the patient’s overall progress, and make recommendations through the caregiver.    

Usually, the consulting psychiatrist and BHCM discuss the patient’s progress through a call or in person. When doing this, they appraise the charts and discuss matters on the registry to help determine whether the patient has made any positive progress. After that, these mental health professionals can decide if medication changes are needed or if intervention needs to be done.  

Certain foundational components form the COCM program, and these include: 

  • Population-Based Care: This entails monitoring all the patients using a particular real-time registry to ensure each gets noticed to get the necessary care and attention. These patients need follow-up each month to properly alter the treatment plans as needed.  
  • Patient-Centered Team Care: This is a non-behavioral health physician, and it can be a primary care physician or any other specialist working alongside a behavioral team that consists of a psychiatric consultant and BHCM. This team shares everything with each other, including patient goals, treatment plans, medication regimens, and assessments. 
  • Accountable Care: This entails the provider getting rewarded depending on the results and quality of care rather than the number of patients they treat. The conditions usually vary depending on the agreed-upon value-based care agreement and the payer. 
  • Measurement-Based Treatment to Target: The treatment plans and subsequent results are determined by validated rating evaluations or scales such as the PHQ-9 depression scale to help achieve a particular objective. 
  • The Right Level of Evidence-Based Care: One vital principle of the collaborative care model is to know how to deliver the proper level of care to suitable patients. This is crucial because not all patients require to see a psychiatrist, and medication would instead be a more appropriate solution. 

What Are The Benefits Of The Collaborative Care Model? 

Mental Health Psychological Behavioral Cognitive Emotional Puzzle 3d Illustration
Mental Health Psychological Behavioral Cognitive Emotional Puzzle 3d Illustration

There are numerous benefits associated with CoCM, and here’s a look at some of them:

 It Cuts Down Cost to Patients  

Seeking treatment for mental health conditions such as depression isn’t cheap and costs $100 to $200 each session. Because of this, many people get scared and shun getting the needed treatment from accredited professionals. Luckily, CoCM behavioral health helps to cut down mental health costs. This is made possible thanks to incorporating behavioral health services into the primary care practice.  

Treatment of Mental Health Conditions Before They Worsen 

The longer a mental health illness doesn’t get treated, the harder and more expensive it’ll be to deal with the condition. Instead, it’s better to pinpoint such mental health ailments in advance, something that can be easily achieved with psychiatric CoCM. This primary care provider can pinpoint mental health conditions thanks to instruments such as GAD-7 and PHQ-9. 

After an extensive evaluation, the primary care provider will be in a position to link patients suffering from mental health conditions with respective BHCM. And when working as a team, these two experts will better understand the patient’s mental and physical health. As a result, they’ll be in a position to safeguard the patient from worsening mental health issues.  

Offer Comprehensive, Whole-Body Care 

Suffering from physical health complications directly increases the likelihood of mental health issues like depression. Because of this interconnection, it’s important not to overlook the significance of physical health in safeguarding your mental health. 

CoCM in behavioral health helps realize this goal since the primary care providers alongside other specialists, for instance, onsite licensed Behavioral Health Manager, in-house care coordination team, and Psychiatric Consultant. With these many professionals, whole-body care is guaranteed. 


Undoubtedly, the number of persons struggling with mental health challenges has been on the rise. However, getting outstanding mental health services isn’t easy due to rising costs, stigma, and a shortage of qualified professionals. This is what the CoCM seeks to resolve, and this extensive guide has outlined in detail how this treatment can help in treating mental health conditions.

Medical Disclaimer: All the content available on the website is just for informational purposes. It’s not a substitute for any Professional advice. Don’t take it personally. As a medical student, I’m just trying to use my information through my content, and please keep in mind it’s not written by a professional doctor. Use the data just for educational purposes.

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