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New Value-Based Payment Model Being Tested to Integrate Behavioral Health and Boost Care Coordination

CMS Announces the new Innovation in Behavioral Health (IBH) Model to Transform Health Care Coordination

January 26, 2024  – CMS recently unveiled a new value-based payment model designed to revolutionize the way behavioral health is integrated into the healthcare system. This initiative, known as the Innovation in Behavioral Health (IBH) Model, is a key part of the Biden Administration’s HHS Roadmap for Behavioral Health Integration and will be put to the test by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation.

The IBH Model is set to launch in the fall of 2024 and is expected to operate for eight years. Designed to enhance the quality of care for those with moderate to severe mental health conditions and substance use disorders (SUDs), this state-based voluntary model is especially focused on community-based behavioral health practices that cater to these groups.

“I am proud of all the work we have done to change the way mental health is treated in this country for the better. This new behavioral health model released today will help states to advance this goal, in line with the President’s Unity Agenda priority to tackle the mental health crisis,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “The Biden-Harris Administration will continue to explore innovative ways to help people with mental health conditions and/or substance use disorder. Put simply, mental health is health—and by expanding access to the high-quality care that people need, we are changing lives.”

The approach of the IBH Model is both collaborative and innovative. Participating community-based practices will form interprofessional care teams, comprising experts in both behavioral and physical health, supplemented by community-based support services. This holistic approach is a game-changer in the way patients are treated and supported.

The need for such a model has never been more pressing. In recent years, the demand for mental health services has surged, yet barriers like social stigma, cost, and accessibility continue to impede patients from receiving appropriate care. A staggering 40% of adults with Medicaid who needed mental health services in 2022 faced hurdles in accessing them.


The IBH Model aims to dismantle these barriers with its “no wrong door” approach, ensuring that patients have seamless access to both physical and behavioral health services. Beyond just medical care, the model emphasizes the importance of integrating health information technology, like enhanced interoperability of EHR systems, and prioritizes health equity. As part of this comprehensive care, behavioral health practices will conduct screenings for social needs related to health and connect patients to relevant community-based services.

That is what HHS Deputy Secretary Andrea Palm emphasized about the model, stating, “This new model ensures that anyone can get access to the services they need, regardless of how they enter care. We will continue to test approaches that close the gaps between how behavioral and physical health are treated. Our goal is always to improve the overall quality of care and outcomes for patients and this model brings us one step closer.”


Anticipation is building as the IBH Model gears up for implementation in up to eight states. With the Notice of Funding Opportunity expected in spring 2024, this innovative model is poised to pave the way for a more integrated, effective, and compassionate healthcare system for those grappling with mental health conditions and SUDs.

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