Camden Coalition ACO explores how to integrate primary and behavioral health care

Camden primary care providers at an ACO Provider DInner
September 13, 2016
January 14, 2021
Camden Coalition pilots DEI discussion series
The Camden Coalition pilots a series of internal diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) conversations to discuss race, equity, and health justice.
Lisa Mojica and Danielle Hodges, Chair and Vice-Chair Camden Coalition DEI Committee
December 22, 2020
Op-ed: Our Medical Director shares why he is eager to receive the COVID-19 vaccine
The Camden Coalition's Medical Director, Dr. Jubril Oyeyemi, provides assurance about the safety and efficacy of the new COVID-19 vaccine.
Jubril Oyeyemi
Medical provider holds a cellphone in hands
October 2, 2020
Two new data sources for the Camden Coalition HIE broaden its impact and scope
New long-term care and hospital admission, discharge, and transfer data make the Camden Coalition HIE even more useful for providers in South Jersey.
Christine McBride and Natasha Dravid
Stock photo of brown paper grocery bags filled with fresh produce and bagels
September 8, 2020
Tackling the “last mile” of safety-net food access during the COVID-19 pandemic
Collaborations in Camden leverage an NEMT provider's infrastructure to address food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Evelyne Kane, Jamie Moses, Joe Hejlek, and Benjamin Ovadia
August 13, 2020
Responding to COVID-19 by expanding the Camden Coalition’s HIE functionalities
New additions to the Camden Coalition HIE give South Jersey more insight into COVID-19 in the region.
Christine McBride, Audrey Hendricks, and Natasha Dravid
June 2, 2020
Note from our CEO on what is happening in our communities
Join us in not only denouncing racism and institutional violence, but in taking action to ensure equity as well.
Kathleen Noonan

As one of New Jersey’s three Medicaid Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), the Camden Coalition works with the city’s 15 primary care practices to provide better care at lower cost to Camden’s 38,000 Medicaid patients. Every quarter all of the practices come together at the Camden Coalition ACO Provider Dinner to discuss how the collective work is going, and where the ACO should go from here. At last month’s dinner we talked about behavioral health.

Behavioral health, which combines mental health and substance use disorders, is underaddressed throughout the region. Here in Camden, it has emerged as a central concern for the population of emergency department (ED) high-utilizers.

The Camden Coalition ACO has been working to connect ED high-utilizers to primary care, under the assumption that people frequently use the ED when they don’t have a strong relationship to a primary care provider. However, through our primary care reconnection efforts we have learned that many ED high-utilizers are already connected to primary care, and that the root cause of their frequent use of the ED is often a behavioral health issue such as anxiety or substance abuse.

At last month’s ACO Provider Dinner, we surveyed providers about their capacity to address the behavioral health issues that lead to overuse of Camden’s emergency departments. Providers were ready and willing to care for their patients’ behavioral health needs, and in many cases are already doing so, but agreed that they needed support and resources to be able to do so more effectively. As one provider said in their survey response, “Sometimes I feel comfortable and then other times I don’t know where to always refer the patient.” In Camden, as in many communities, there often is no place to refer patients. Our goal is for Camden providers to feel as comfortable and confident managing behavioral health concerns as they are in managing common physical health concerns like diabetes or high blood pressure.

We will be exploring in the upcoming months how to better support primary care providers to provide behavioral health care in our ACO practices, as well as how to ensure that the needs of ED high utilizers are being met outside of the emergency department. This may include training for providers and clinic staff, case conferencing, ensuring the availability of mental health specialists to consult with practices, and more.

Stay Informed

Join our mailing list to get the latest updates sent right to your inbox from the Camden Coalition.

Sign Up