Determining the Model
How do partnering Community Behavioral Health Centers (CBHC) and Community Health Centers (CHC) determine the ideal model for their foray into integration? There are many factors to consider such as:
- What are the needs of the individuals served by the partnering organizations?
- What are the needs of the community?
- What resources do the organizations bring to the partnership?
Now that the partners have a solid foundation and clear vision for their collaboration, it is time for the careful planning that is necessary to make it a reality. There are effective tools available to assist organizations in working through this very important process. (Please note that these suggestions and resources are not limited to community providers.)
The MH/Primary Care Integration Options scale is available on the SAMHSA-HRSA Center for Integrated Health Solution website. This is very helpful for leading the discussion among the members of the implementation team. The scale assists the partners not only in determining the current reality but also mutually deciding on the desired level of integration: Minimal Collaboration, Basic Collaboration from a Distance, Basic Collaboration On-Site, Close Collaboration/Partly Integrated, and Fully Integrated/Merged in each of these key functional areas:
- Access: How do individuals access services?
- Services: Are the services separate and distinct or are the primary care and behavioral health services seamless? Or perhaps somewhere in between.
- Funding: Do the partners share resources or are they separate?
- Governance: Are there separate boards of directors for each organization?
- Evidence-based Practices: Do the organizations administer the PHQ-9 or disease registries, for example, and share the results?
- Data: Do the partners share information? Do the providers have access to the partner’s EHR?
This assessment process is most effective when stakeholders from each organization are included. Ideally, representatives are included from clinical, management, and administrative departments, as well as a few individuals who use the services. It’s very helpful to have frontline staff and board members to take part as well. Call center and reception staff offer a unique perspective that leadership frequently finds enlightening.
Other useful tools available include the National Council’s Success in the New Healthcare Ecosystem: Mental Health & Substance Use Provider Readiness Assessment prepared by Dale Jarvis. This allows provider organization management teams to assess their organization’s readiness for engaging in the changing healthcare system.
Another tool to consider is the COMPASS-PH/BH created by Zia Partners. This self-assessment tool is used for primary care/behavioral health integration for implementation of a Comprehensive Continuous Integrated System of Care.
Making the Vision into a Reality
Once the ideal model of integration has been determined, the journey begins to make it a reality. Be sure to stop by for the next installment in the series.
What tools or methods have you found to be helpful when selecting a model for your healthcare integration endeavor?
I would love to hear from you! Please email your suggestions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org for inclusion in a future post.