Using financial incentives to promote shared mental health care

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Objectives: To consider the most common primary care reimbursement structures, to identify incentives inherent in each, and to discuss how each could be used to encourage a shared-care approach to treating mental disorders at the primary care level. Method: Three major financial reimbursement models - fee-for-service, capitation, and blended payment mechanisms - are examined. Each is considered in terms of its risk-sharing elements and the consequent incentives. We offer several scenarios to illustrate how the shared-care practice model might be encouraged under each financing mechanism. Results: The current fee-for-service system does not encourage shared care. For wide adoption of the shared-care practice model, there must be a change in the reimbursement system's incentives. While none of the financing mechanisms offers a perfect solution, each has potential. Each, however, must be carefully tailored to its environment. Conclusions: Financial considerations are just one aspect to achieving shared care. Nevertheless, in designing a system to encourage collaborative, coordinated care for those suffering from mental illness, decision makers should be wary of creating or maintaining obstacles (financial or otherwise) to provision of accessible, high-quality care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)488-495
Number of pages8
JournalCanadian Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Blended payments
  • Capitation
  • Fee-for-service
  • Financial incentives
  • Shared mental health care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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