Comprehensive Continuous Integrated System of Care (CCISC)


The Comprehensive Continuous Integrated System of Care (CCISC) process (Minkoff & Cline, 2004, 2005) is a vision-driven system “transformation” process for redesigning behavioral health and other related service delivery systems to be organized at every level (policy, program, procedure, and practice)—within whatever resources are available—to be more about the needs of the individuals and families needing services, and values that reflect welcoming, empowered, helpful partnerships throughout the system. The ultimate goal of CCISC is to help develop a system of care that is welcoming, recovery-oriented, integrated, trauma-informed, and culturally competent in order to most effectively meet the needs of individuals and families with multiple co-occurring conditions of all types (mental health, substance abuse, medical, cognitive, housing, legal, parenting, etc.) and help them to make progress to achieve the happiest, most hopeful, and productive lives they possibly can.

In a CCISC process, every program and every person delivering clinical care engages in a quality improvement process—in partnership with each other, with system leadership, and with individuals and families who are receiving services—to become welcoming, recovery- or resiliency-oriented, and co-occurring-capable. Every aspect of clinical service delivery is organized on the assumption that the next person or family entering service will have multiple co-occurring conditions, and will need to be welcomed for care, inspired with hope, and engaged in a partnership to address each and every one of those conditions in order to achieve the vision and hope of recovery.

This model is based on the following eight clinical consensus best practice principles (Minkoff and Cline, 2004, 2005) which espouse an integrated recovery philosophy that makes sense from the perspective of both the mental health system and the substance disorder treatment system.


Principle 1. Co-occurring issues and conditions are an expectation, not an exception.

This expectation must be included in every aspect of system planning, program design, clinical policy and procedure, and clinical competency, as well as incorporated in a welcoming manner in every clinical contact, to promote access to care and accurate screening and identification of individuals and families with multiple co-occurring issues.

Principle 2. The foundation of a recovery partnership is an empathic, hopeful, integrated, strength-based relationship.

Within this partnership, integrated longitudinal strength-based assessment, intervention, support, and continuity of care promote step-by-step community-based learning for each issue or condition.

Principle 3. All people with co-occurring conditions are not the same, so different parts of the system have responsibility to provide co-occurring-capable services for different populations.

Assignment of responsibility for provision of such relationships can be determined using the four-quadrant national consensus model for system-level planning, based on high and low severity of the psychiatric and substance disorder.

Principle 4. When co-occurring issues and conditions are present, each issue or condition is considered to be primary.

The best-practice intervention is integrated dual or multiple primary treatment, in which each condition or issue receives appropriately-matched intervention at the same time.

Principle 5. Recovery involves moving through stages of change and phases of recovery for each co-occurring condition or issue.

Mental illness and substance dependence (as well as other conditions, such as medical disorders, trauma, and homelessness) are examples of chronic biopsychosocial conditions that can be understood using a disease and recovery (or condition and recovery) model. Each condition has parallel phases of recovery (acute stabilization, engagement and motivational enhancement, prolonged stabilization and relapse prevention, rehabilitation and growth) and stages of change. For each condition or issue, interventions and outcomes must be matched to stage of change and phase of recovery.

Principle 6. Progress occurs through adequately supported, adequately rewarded skill-based learning for each co-occurring condition or issue.

For each co-occurring condition or issue, treatment involves getting an accurate set of recommendations for that issue, and then learning the skills (self-management skills and skills for accessing professional, peer, or family support) in order to follow those recommendations successfully over time. In order to promote learning, the right balance of care or support with contingencies and expectations must be in place for each condition, and contingencies must be applied with recognition that reward is much more effective in promoting learning than negative consequences.

Principle 7. Recovery plans, interventions, and outcomes must be individualized. Consequently, there is no one correct dual-diagnosis program or intervention for everyone.

For each individual or family, integrated treatment interventions and outcomes must be individualized according to their hopeful goals; their specific diagnoses, conditions, or issues; and the phase of recovery, stage of change, strengths, skills, and available contingencies for each condition.

Principle 8. CCISC is designed so that all policies, procedures, practices, programs, and clinicians become welcoming, recovery- or resiliency-oriented, and co-occurring-capable.

Each program has a different job, and programs partner to help each other succeed with their own complex populations. The goal is that each individual or family is routinely welcomed into empathic, hopeful, integrated relationships, in which each co-occurring issue or condition is identified, and engaged in a continuing process of adequately supported, adequately rewarded, strength-based, stage-matched, skill-based, community-based learning for each condition, in order to help the individual or family make progress toward achieving their recovery goals.