behavioral health integration · behavioral health primary care integration · healthcare integration

Integration of Behavioral Health and Primary Care: Preparing for Service Delivery

When your behavioral health and primary care integration partnership has worked through the preliminary groundwork for integrating services (click here for more information on planning), it’s time for preparing for the delivery of the services. The detailed outline created in earlier steps becomes your business plan. The plan serves as a map of the partnership’s goals and provides direction for delivering services.

Formalizing the partnership

When two organizations are collaborating for providing integrated services, it’s important to understand the legal and regulatory requirements. Working through this process should include consultation with an attorney. The following resources provide additional information for consideration:

Service Delivery

Once the legalities have been addressed, including the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, Business Associates Agreement, etc., it’s (finally!) time to establish a start date and prepare for the delivery of the much needed services. The preliminary work, though tedious at times, was necessary to ensure the success of service delivery.

Careful planning is the hallmark of successful healthcare integration!

Through the careful planning of the behavioral health and primary care providers, they are ready to offer services in a more holistic manner. With co-morbid behavioral and physical health conditions more often the rule rather than the exception, the newly integrated services enable the team to provide much more comprehensive care coordination in this behavioral health and primary care marriage than either partner could have done independently. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts!

Celebrating Success

Once the equipment and supplies are in place, staff training is completed, and the start date has been announced to internal and external referral sources, it’s time to celebrate!

Celebrating important milestones is very important for ongoing success. It is an opportunity to strengthen relations among the healthcare integration team. Also, celebrating milestones is a valuable opportunity for leaders to re-energize their employees around the partnership’s Strategic Objectives by thanking the people who helped make the achievements happen.

Though things won’t always be harmonious, the partnership can persevere the difficult times through establishing a strong core to build upon. As discussed in The Partnership: Creating a Solid Foundation for Successful Healthcare Integration: “A partnership that has the solid and flexible foundation that is necessary for a lasting partnership” will weather the inevitable storms ahead.

If we are together nothing is impossible. If we are divided all will fail.
–Winston Churchill


4 thoughts on “Integration of Behavioral Health and Primary Care: Preparing for Service Delivery

  1. Thank you for sharing this information. From a business stand point it is good information in our everchanging requirements and meeting our contractual and service agreements. From a client perspective I would like to share the following:
    Programs That Foster
    The Stages of Change/Recovery
    Marc Baisden, MA, CMHC, CIS
    ■ Provide outreach, support and treatment in community or home based settings.

    Trusting Relationship
    ■ Gain permission from clients and families to share in their process of change.
    ■ Ask clients and families to identify and recognize what is important to them.
    ■ Listen to and respect their goals, priorities motivations for change and recovery.
    ■ Get to know the person/people for who they are.

    Practical Support
    ■ Provide resource information and advocacy support for daily living and identified needs (i.e., food, clothing, housing, medicine,
    safety, crisis intervention).

    ■ Assess continuously the clients and family functioning, readiness-to-change, treatment/personal goals, treatment engagement, treatment/personal progress, and functioning in his or her community systems. Contemplation Persuasion

    Motivational Interventions
    ■ Commit to understanding clients and families goals for recovery and healing.
    ■ Help clients and families to gain an understanding of the pros, cons, and maintenance of change, recovery and healing.
    ■ Help clients and families establish the discrepancy between their goals, recovery and their current functioning patterns (e.g., thoughts, feelings, behavior)
    ■ Help clients and families begin to deal with substance use, emotional and relational problems and to begin to take responsibility for themselves.
    ■ Help clients and families recognize and take pride in their own strengths, successes and recovery

    Recognize and Support That Resistance and Ambivalence is Normal
    ■ Assure clients, families and support systems to recognize that resistance and ambivalence to change is a normal part of the recovery and healing process (change occurs slowly over time).

    Pro-Active/Pro-Social Reinforcements
    ■ Assist the client and families to identify, develop and use pro-active/pro-social skills, resources and reinforcements to improve and maintain more appropriate decisions toward positive support recovery and healing.

    ■ Teach clients and families about substance abuse, mental illness, emotional and relational functioning, recovery and healing, and activities that can promote wellness, recovery and healing.
    ■ Teach specific skill building tools to increase recovery and healing in their lives. (e.g, assertiveness skills, relapse and recovery, relationship building, parenting, recognizing symptom patterns, communication skills, and life functioning patterns etc.).
    ■ Provide outreach, support and training to increase/maintain the motivation for change and recovery to client, families and support systems.
    Action Active Treatment
    Social Support
    ■ Encourage and assist in developing positive peer, family and community supports (e.g., self-help groups, family, social supports etc.).

    Cognitive Behavioral Interventions
    ■ Assist clients and families in transforming negative thoughts and behaviors into positive and more appropriate coping skills for both disorders and their lives

    ■ Develop individual and family relapse-prevention and recovery plans.
    ■ Support clients as they develop and maintain new relational lifestyle changes learned in treatment.

    Recovery Lifestyle
    ■ Help clients and families to set realistic and achievable goals for enhancing their quality of life functioning and to maintain a successful recovery.

    Social Support
    ■ Reduce the frequency, intensity, and duration of relapses with positive peer relationships, supportive clinical relationships and community/family support systems.

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