Colorado 1 of 4 States to Participate in New CMS Initiative – Its Potential Impact on Behavioral Health


In partnership with the Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network (LAN), CMS will be initiating State Transformation Collaboratives to accelerate the implementation of alternative payment models (APMs). The initiative will bring together CMS and local stakeholders to support locally driven efforts to transform healthcare, including in the areas of advanced primary care, behavioral health integration, and health equity.

Colorado was one of only four states to be selected by CMS to participate in this State Transformation Collaborative initiative.

While we wait for more on when and how this initiative will take place, it brings up, again, the importance of focusing on health equity, behavioral health, and those foundational principals of primary care in ensuring high quality, value-based care. It also brings optimism in the continued shift towards alternative payment models and state and federal commitment in support of that shift.

Read the full announcement from Colorado’s Division of Insurance:


Behavioral Health Integration & the Advancement of Alternative Payment Models

The announcement of CMS’ State Transformation Collaborative initiative came at a fortuitous time, as HealthTeamWorks ended 2021 homing in on the current and future needs of the healthcare community and how we can best support them in the months to come.

Maybe it’s the impact COVID-19 has had on behavioral health. Or perhaps it’s the end of another federal initiative, CPC+, and the concern that has brought practices in maintaining behavioral health staff. But, more often than not, healthcare practices lack the needed support to implement and integrate enough behavioral health services to meet the needs of their patient populations.

And when we talk about initiatives like CMS’ State Transformation Collaboratives – those that aim to advance APMs – behavioral health is increasingly at the center of those conversations. This is because behavioral health integration can, ultimately, support practice success in APMs – it can improve outcomes, enhance quality, and reduce avoidable utilization and costs of care. And the reverse is true: being successful in alternative, value-based models of payment requires looking at the whole person, from physical to social to behavioral health.



But whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been on the journey to integration for some time, there are, unfortunately, inherent challenges in ensuring patients have adequate access to behavioral health services. Where do you start in integrating behavioral health into your practice? How do you financially sustain that integration? What if you can’t get a behavioral health professional into your practice? How does behavioral health fit into your use of alternative payment models (APMs)?

These are just a few questions that often arise when thinking about integrating behavioral health into primary and specialty care. And though the answer to many of these questions may differ across practices, HealthTeamWorks is harnessing our expertise and experience to help practices get to those answers and implement necessary solutions. We provide practice facilitation to support integration infrastructure, behavioral health training for staff such as nurses or care managers, implementation support for substance use screenings and medication assisted treatments, and assistance in the use of technology to increase access to services.

If you or your practice would like to learn more about how HealthTeamWorks can help you succeed in APMs and ensure access to behavioral health care, contact us at

HealthTeamWorks’ Solutions Center also offers deep dives and resources in the area of behavioral health integration as well as APMs.

Written by Katie Ebinger, MPH, MSW - Facilitator, Advancement & Healthcare Transformation, HealthTeamWorks