Integration of Behavioral Health and Primary Care

Integration of Behavioral Health and Primary Care

May 8th, 2017 | Clinical Connections

by Daryl Sharp, PhD, RN, FAAN

A key care management priority for 2017 is to support behavioral health integration with primary care practices across our network. To this end, we have formed a behavioral health integration (BHI) team which aims to implement BHI strategies according to a menu of options. George Nasra, MD, MBA, Division Chief for Collaborative Care & Wellness at URMC and Associate Medical Director for Behavioral Health for AHP and I co-lead the team. Kate Tredwell, MSN, RN, PMHNP-BC and Tziporah Rosenberg, PhD, LMFT are also BHI team members. A second psychiatric nurse practitioner with expertise in child and adolescent psychiatry will join our team in July.

Beginning with a needs assessment in which we will gather descriptive practice data including the prevalence of depression and anxiety as well as other behavioral health visits, we will work with the practice team to understand priority behavioral health challenges and the practice culture, current behavioral health referral patterns and resources. A BHI practice champion (not necessarily a provider) will also be identified. The practice will then be offered a variety of BHI options such as an enhanced care management model, e-consultations, telehealth provider and/or patient consultations.

The BHI team is already working with AHP’s care management team to build the team’s capacity through training seminars and bi-weekly case-based discussions. ECHO model tele-mentoring and education clinics are also regularly occurring to support BHI. And we are exploring opportunities for provider specific BHI educational sessions. Each pilot will include a pre/post program evaluation in which we will assess the impact of BHI on disease specific outcome measures as well as process measures such as referrals. We also intend to evaluate the impact of BHI on staff and provider fatigue and burnout as well as on patient satisfaction. Our longer range goal is to replicate successful BHI approaches in other practice sites across AHP.

Thank you for your collaboration in this important work. Please contact me at [email protected] if you have questions or if I can be of any assistance.