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Premera and UW Medicine Collaborate on Mental Health Care for Black Communities

March 21, 2024

Studies show that Black people experience depression at the same rates as white people but are less likely to seek care for their mental health. This can be due to stigma, lack of access, or other barriers. The $1.4 million investment from Premera Blue Cross will help clinics in areas with larger Black and African American communities implement the Collaborative Care model. These clinics include HopeCentral in Seattle and the Tacoma and Federal Way clinics of Northwest Medical Specialties.

Developed at the University of Washington (UW), Collaborative Care increases access because patients can receive care for their mental health in the same setting they receive medical care. The UW has also conducted nearly 20 studies to show that Collaborative Care significantly reduces or eliminates mental health treatment outcome disparities for Black and African American people.

This extends the initial work from Premera and UW Medicine to improve mental health outcomes in the Pacific Northwest. In 2019, Premera invested $10 million in the UW School of Medicine to support the integration of Collaborative Care in rural clinics across Washington and Alaska, reaching 23 primary care clinics across both states.