Back to the Basics: 4 Resources for Getting Started with Integrating Primary Care and Behavioral Health

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “the rising burden of chronic disease and the number of people with complex care needs require the development of delivery systems that bring together a range of professionals and skills from both healthcare, long-term care, and social service sectors.” The main goals for this integration align with healthcare’s triple aim to improve care quality, improve patient satisfaction, and decrease cost of healthcare.

Despite this increased focus on integrated care, there is no single, widely recognized definition of integrated care. The Center for Integrated Health Solutions (CHIS) was tasked to identify and distribute core competencies on integrated practices relevant to behavioral health and primary care providers. In response, CHIS has provided tools for providers who are eager to get started with care integration.

Quick Start Guide to Behavioral Health Integration for Safety-Net Primary Care Providers

Integrating behavioral health services encompasses both the management and delivery aspects care. When this integration is successful, individuals receive a continuum of preventative and restorative mental health and addiction assistance, according to their needs over time, and across different levels of the healthcare system. The SAMSHA “quick start decision chart” was developed to help providers succeed in this process. It guides providers through the many different options for adding behavioral health services when developing an integrated care system. Here are two examples of questions the quick start guide asks providers to consider:

  • Question: Has your organization adopted a mission statement and a work plan for practice transformation that fully incorporates behavioral health?
  • Question: Do you have a business plan that incorporates the components needed to financially sustain behavioral health services?

For answers to these questions and more, check out the full quick start guide here.

Lexicon for Behavioral Health and Primary Care Integration

Behavioral-Health-and-Primary-Care-IntegrationThe field of behavioral health integration is only now beginning to develop a standardized vocabulary. Definitions in the field have previously emphasized values, principles, and goals rather than functional specifics. Consequently, the Lexicon for Behavioral health and Primary Care Integration was developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) through the Center for Primary Care, Prevention, and Clinical Partnerships (CP3) as part of a programmatic effort to focus on integrating behavioral health and primary care. The goal is for everyone to use a standardized vocabulary in order to enable effective communication among clinicians, care systems, health plans, payers, researchers, policymakers, business modelers, and patients. The following are some benefits of having a standardized vocabulary:

  • Clinicians and medical groups better understand exactly what they need to implement in order to provide genuine behavioral health integrated in primary care
  • Patients and families understand what they can expect from integrated behavioral health
  • Health plans can better define what they require clinic systems to provide to health plan members

View the full Lexicon for Behavioral health and Primary Care Integration here.

Organizational Assessment Toolkit for Primary and Behavioral Healthcare Integration (OATI)

The OATI helps organizations improve the delivery of integrated primary and behavioral healthcare to populations with complex needs. Their premise is that all programs in primary care and behavioral health settings must assess and improve their capability to deliver integrated services within whatever resource base or staffing complement they currently have. OATI features four self-assessment tools to provide an understanding of your organization’s readiness regarding integrated care:

SAMSHA Webinar “Back to the Basics: Primary and Behavioral Health Care Integration”

On July 11, 2016 SAMSHA held an informative webinar highlighting the basics of primary and behavioral healthcare integration and how to effectively communicate the importance of integrated care. In the webinar, Joe Parks, MD, National Council Medical Advisor and Missouri Medicaid Director, defines integrated care as “The care that results from a practice team of primary care and behavioral health clinicians working with patients and families, using a systematic and cost-effective approach to provide patient-centered care for a defined population.” In his presentation he lists 5 Principles of Effective Integrated Behavioral Healthcare:

  • Person-Centered Team Care/Collaborative Care
  • Population-Based Care
  • Measurement-Based Treatment to Target
  • Evidence-Based Care
  • Accountable Care

View the webinar or download the slides here.

Eccovia Solutions gives you the technology tools you need for integrating primary care and behavioral health, including whole-person care tracking, flexible database platform, online portal, and reporting and analytics.

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