Integration of Behavioral Health Team and Consulting Psychiatrist Into Primary Care Enhances Access to Behavioral Health Care for Low-Income Patients
Access Community Health Centers (a federally qualified health center) integrates behavioral health services into its three primary care settings through a full-time behavioral health consultation team and a part-time consulting psychiatrist. The team supports primary care providers (who retain full authority over all treatment decisions) in diagnosing and treating patients with behavioral health issues, providing same-day, targeted appointments to assess symptom severity and identify interventions that could help. The psychiatrist assists as needed, providing consultations on issues related to diagnosis, testing, and treatment, particularly medication management. The consultation team and primary care provider monitor patients’ behavioral health on an ongoing basis, and all providers, including the psychiatrist, have complete access to the patient’s electronic health record. The program has enhanced access to behavioral health services; increased patients’ engagement in their own behavioral health care; and encouraged primary care clinicians to take a more active role in managing their patients’ behavioral health issues.
Date First Implemented
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