The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’(CMS) recently unveiled the States Advancing All-Payer Health Equity Approaches and Development Model (AHEAD Model). This 11-year total cost-of-care reduction model is designed to give state governments the tools to reduce spending and increase quality. A significant component of this model is the integration of behavioral health into primary care practices.

The emphasis on social determinants of health in the AHEAD Model presents a significant opportunity for behavioral health providers. Social determinants of health - factors such as socioeconomic status, education, neighborhood and physical environment, employment, and social support networks, as well as access to health care -have a major impact on the mental and physical health outcomes of individuals.

The AHEAD Model’s focus on addressing these determinants aligns closely with the holistic approach often employed in behavioral health. This provides an opportunity for behavioral health providers to demonstrate their value and play a leading role in improving overall patient care.

Moreover, the model’s emphasis on quality measures presents an opportunity for the adoption of value-based care models in behavioral health. Value-based care models focus on patient outcomes and can incentivize providers to offer comprehensive, high-quality care. For behavioral health providers, this could mean an increased focus on early intervention and the use of evidence-based treatment protocols.

However, transitioning to a value-based care model can be challenging. It requires robust data tracking systems, a strong understanding of quality metrics, and often necessitates changes in how care is delivered.

At CWH Advisors, we understand these complexities and are well-equipped to help providers navigate this landscape. Our expertise in translating healthcare policy to action, combined with our understanding of behavioral health practices, positions us to assist providers in leveraging the opportunities presented by the AHEAD Model while effectively addressing its challenges. We look forward to partnering with behavioral health providers to seize this opportunity to transform care delivery and improve patient outcomes.