HARRISBURG – Bucks County Rep. Wendi Thomas has proposed legislation to improve access to mental health care in PA through the Collaborative Care Model, an integrated care model that can deliver timely psychiatric care in the primary care setting. Thomas says over 1.8 million Pennsylvanians report having a mental illness, while 1.7 million residents live in an area without enough mental health professionals. House Bill 2686 would create a grant program for small and solo practices to cover their Collaborative Care Model start-up costs, prioritizing those practices in rural and under-served areas of PA. Under the Collaborative Care Model, a care team is led by a primary care provider and includes a consulting psychiatrist and behavioral health care manager. The team cares for a defined group of patients and closely tracks each patient’s progress. Recent studies show that for every $1 spent on care delivered in the Collaborative Care Model, there is a $6.50 return on investment in improved health and productivity. The bill is before the state House Human Services Committee.