The behavioral health challenges facing Idaho are clear – and the time has come to create solutions to these challenges. The collaborative’s envisioned behavioral health plan will improve the lives of all Idahoans by developing solutions that ensure they get care – when and where they need it.

Our goal, much as it has been wherever our founding partners operate, is  to improve lives, and our path to getting there is two-fold:

  1. Address the behavioral health challenges that affect Idaho, such as poor access to care, lack of coordination of care, rising costs and a lack of focus in driving quality and innovation.
  2.  We foster strong community collaborations, member and family involvement, improved individual health, transparency, and innovation.

Focus on individual health to improve community health

Once selected as the Idaho Behavioral Health Plan administrator, the Idaho Behavioral Health Collaborative will create, side-by-side with our partners, providers, members, families and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, a behavioral health plan that meets the needs of all Idaho communities. Data provides the necessary insights to craft that plan, serving populations at both the community and individual levels. Through data, we craft personalized solutions that support the right care for an individual’s mental health and well-being. Members become more engaged in care when they experience a plan unique to them. It’s personal, makes sense, and it works. Their total health improves, and they’re more satisfied with the experience.

Expanding access in rural areas

The need for a robust behavioral health system in the state of Idaho has never been stronger. Only 24.3 percent[2] of the need for behavioral health services in Idaho is met. That is why the Idaho Behavioral Health Collaborative believes the system needs more innovation and flexibility in how services are delivered. Alternative modalities, including telehealth, should become more of an option and less of an alternative. We need to rethink who can provide certain types of services and where they can be accessed. Finally, we believe in building provider capacity with other interested stakeholders, such as commercial payers.  

Solving Substance Use Disorders

Our substance use disorder (SUD) programs provide higher rates of access to care and greater levels of specialization than other models, delivering better outcomes for members and reducing total cost of care.

Together we deliver customized behavioral health solutions for and across government entities. In fact one of our founding partners, BPA, works with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, Idaho Department of Corrections, Idaho Supreme Court and the Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections to connect their respective clients to substance use disorder treatment providers.  

Our clinical expertise is particularly valuable in light of the opioid epidemic that continues to spread across Idaho. Promoting medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD) is at the heart of our comprehensive opioid management solution. Research shows that MOUD, when combined with counseling and behavioral therapies, helps to reduce opioid-related overdose deaths and increase social functioning and retention in treatment.[3] Therefore, connecting people to that treatment and ensuring they stay connected are critical to sustained recovery from opioid use disorder (OUD).

Our opioid management solution also addresses system shortfalls that create barriers to accessing evidence-based care. On a national level, our partners collaborate with providers to address those barriers and ultimately improve health by:

  • Offering value-based payment models to expand our specialty MOUD network, improve network performance, and reward improved MOUD access and adherence
  • Providing field-based clinical, quality, and technical assistance to support the network
  • Helping providers improve transitions of care from inpatient settings to outpatient care, inclusive of evidence-based treatment, such as MOUD

Nationally, one of our founding partners, Carelon Behavioral Health, trains and educates prescribers on MOUD through Project ECHO, a tele-mentoring model that links specialists with community-based clinicians in rural and underserved areas through virtual clinics.

The Collaborative, through our founding partner Carelon Behavioral Health, is also a member of the Shatterproof Substance Use Disorder Treatment Taskforce that developed the groundbreaking, evidence-based National Principles of Care to improve treatment. We are helping that organization to fund, develop, and promote a rating system of addiction programs nationwide.


Many factors outside of healthcare, often referred to as social drivers of health (SDoH), impact mental

health and wellbeing.  Idahoans experience many of these risk factors, such as lack of transportation, food insecurity, unemployment, homelessness, and stress.  By supporting mental health promotion and primary prevention the Collaborative can support ID BH Plan members in recognition of signs of stress, depression, problematic substance use and link members to treatment, when needed, all while connecting members to community resources and supports to address SDoH.

Crisis Response System

The Department of Health and Welfare (DHW) has done the initial work in evaluating the current Crisis Response System and identifying best practices already in place as well as gaps and opportunities. The Idaho Behavioral Health Collaborative will take that next step in providing “crisis care traffic control” helping member’s access care in the moment of a crisis, deploying mobile crisis teams as needed and offering care coordination throughout to assure members receive the care they need to avoid future crises.

Behavioral Health/Physical Health Integration

The opportunity to integrate physical and mental health services is tremendous. It is extremely beneficial to individuals and the healthcare system for integration to happen, for instance, 31% of people with diabetes have depression or anxiety, yet only 5% are treated for it. Those with depression have 2-4.5x higher medical costs that those without depression.  The statistics are even more powerful for asthma and other chronic conditions.

Due to our multiple touch points across the continuum of care, the Idaho Behavioral Health Collaborative is in a unique position to drive integration in specialty care as well as primary care settings.

Successful integration calls for all practitioners, including behavioral health and primary care, to work collaboratively. We look for shared accountability among all involved parties—payers, physical and mental health providers, and broader system stakeholders. Behavioral health—as a significant driver of total health care costs—cannot get lost in the mix.

It has been estimated that $38 billion to $68 billion[4] can be saved annually through effective integration of physical and behavioral health services. To put these savings in perspective the total national expenditures for mental health and substance use disorders is approximately $240 billion

Youth services

Idaho has recognized the need to build a robust continuum of care for children and youth. Through the YES Program many additional supports will be available to some of the ID BH Plan members. However, the work is not done. The Collaborative will partner with children, youth, families and caregivers alongside our partners with DHW, to identify additional needed services across the continuum. By increasing options for care in Idaho communities and decreasing the number of children leaving the state for residential care, we can create clear pathways in care across the continuum.