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Behavioral and Mental Health Integration into Primary Care Practice

BHI Immersion Program - The BHI Collaborative, a partnership between ACP and seven other leading physician organizations, is launching a new initiative designed to provide enhanced technical assistance to adult and pediatric primary care practices. Selected practices will participate in a 12-month curriculum designed and taught by industry experts on how to effectively implement behavioral health integration (BHI). Upon completion, practices will be able to:

  • Identify the best approach for delivering integrated care (including telehealth) for their practice and patients
  • Determine internal staffing needs (including preparation, training, or qualifications) along with outside partnerships
  • Design a workflow(s) with processes and protocols that work best for their practice
  • Bill/receive payment to sustain delivery of integrated care services
  • Establish short- and long-term goals of success, including measurable improvement targets and indicators

Learn more and apply to see if your practice qualifies. Application process closes on Friday, August 5th.

The COVID-19 pandemic, the opioid epidemic, extreme weather events, increased gun violence, and other local, national, and global political unrest have taken a devastating toll on mental health. One study has estimated that anxiety and depression have increased 26-28% since pre-pandemic levels, respectively.  

BHI Collaborative

  • BHI Collaborative – Eight leading societies (5 primary care societies, 2 psychiatric societies, led by the AMA) established the BHI Collaborative to cultivate effective and sustainable integration of behavioral and mental health care into primary care practices. (The member groups are: AMA, ACP, AAFP, AAP, ACOG, AOA, APA, and ASCAP.) 
    • Compendium – The BHI Compendium is a tool to help physicians understand BHI and how to make it effective for your practice and patients. The goal is to provide accessible, detailed information on the steps required to integrate behavioral health care into your practice along with direct links to relevant resources for more specific information. 
    • Overcoming Obstacles Webinar Series – The BHI Collaborative created this webinar series covering a variety of topics to help practices tackle different aspects of integrating behavioral health into primary care. 

Helpful BHI Resources

  • Waco Guide – This psychopharmacology tool was created by Waco Family Medicine in consult with the Massachusetts General Hospital Psychiatry Academy. Also available in an smartphone app, the Waco Guide is intended to guide decisions regarding psychopharmaceutical treatment of common psychiatric conditions seen in adult and pediatric primary care (e.g., depression, anxiety, ADHD, substance use disorders, PTSD, eating disorders, etc.). 
  • AIMS Center – This website from the University of Washington in Seattle offers a wealth of information to help practices integrate mental health services into primary care practice, including role-based tools, screening instruments, videos, patient materials, billing and coding guidance, registries, and implementation support.  
    • Office Hours - Seasoned coaches and experts answer questions and provide guidance regarding collaborative care, staff training, registry tools, and whatever implementation hurdles physician practices are encountering. These calls are open-ended and you can can call at any time during the hour. 
      • Implementation Office Hours – 3rd Thursday of each month (10 PT/11 MT/12 CT/1 ET) 
      • Finance Office Hours – 1st Wednesday of each month (9 PT/10 MT/11 CT/12 ET) 
    • Financial Modeling Workbook – This downloadable workbook can help practices model and estimate revenue and expenses for providing integrated behavioral health services (free with registration). 

From the AMA

Other Readings

ACP-Related Advocacy

Overcoming Obstacles Webinar Series

Sustaining behavioral healthcare in your practice

This series of webinars was developed collaboratively by representatives of the 8 participating organizations. Most webinars include both primary care and psychiatric clinicians in a wide variety of settings, including small practices, and all provide practical, actionable strategies to help primary care practices sustain a collaborative and equitable approach to providing whole-person care to their patients. 

Future and past events 

Why BHI

Implementation

Special Populations

Billing and Financial Sustainability