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Although the integration of behavioral health and primary care has long been an initiative of many nationally recognized organizations, such as the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic forced many health centers to expedite implementation of the model. The goal of an integrated care model is to provide care that reflects a “whole person” approach, whereby clinicians collaborate to not only address primary care needs, but also behavioral health issues such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse.
Oftentimes, behavioral health issues are identified during primary care visits, making the primary care provider the first individual to see opportunities for the implementation of behavioral health services. The process for integrating behavioral health and primary care can be challenging, depending on the size, complexity and characteristics of the health center’s patient population. Below are some basic factors to consider when integrating behavioral health with primary care.
Additional resources to assist with the integration of behavioral health and primary care can be found at:
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) – What is Integrated Behavioral Health? | The Academy (ahrq.gov)