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Behavioral Health Integration

Behavioral Health Integration

Treating the whole patient

Mission: The Behavioral Health Integration Initiative (BHI) will support primary care practitioners seeking to incorporate behavioral health best practices in the evaluation and treatment of patients.

Vision: All primary care practices will use best practices to identify and treat behavioral health conditions including depression, chronic pain and substance use, and will use psychotropic medications in a safe and effective manner.

2012 Goals:

  1. Assist primary care providers in the use of best practice toolkits for behavioral health conditions including depression, chronic pain, and substance use
  2. Collaborate with Local Management Entity/Managed Care Organizations and behavioral health providers to optimize care of patients with concurrent medical and behavioral health conditions
  3. Increase safety monitoring of off-label prescribing of antipsychotic medication for children
  4. Reduce off-label prescribing of antipsychotic medication for anxiety, sleep and as mono-therapy for depression in the adult population
  5. Educate network pharmacists and care managers regarding best practices for behavioral health diagnoses, treatment, and follow-up

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            In February 2010, the Division of Medical Assistance (DMA) approved the Behavioral Health Integration Initiative (BHI) to support the integration of behavioral health services, including mental health and substance abuse, into the 1,400 Community Care of North Carolina (CCNC) primary care practices across North Carolina. At the CCNC central office, a psychiatrist directs the initiative and leads a team comprised of a second psychiatrist and associate director, a behavioral health pharmacist, and a behavioral health care coordination program manager. In addition, each network now includes the services of a psychiatrist and a behavioral health coordinator dedicated to the implementation of BHI at the local level. In all, ten (10) full-time equivalent psychiatrists and fourteen (14) behavioral health coordinators joined CCNC's networks.

The integration of behavioral health and primary care begins to break a "silo" system of care that too often fails to meet the needs of those patients who have both behavioral and physical comorbidities. BHI recognizes the commitment to enhance integrated care and move beyond a health care delivery system that splits the mind and body as if they were independent of each other. CCNC practices aim to become the medical home for enrollees with mild to moderate behavioral health issues being served in in the primary care system, as well as for enrollees with severe and persistent mental illness being served in our specialty behavioral health system. Given the sharp increase in Medicaid beneficiaries expected in 2014, we believe it is extremely important that North Carolina's delivery system be prepared to respond to this challenge with a more integrated approach to physical and behavioral health.

Access referral forms for use between primary care practices and behavioral health providers here.