SHO Readies Behavioral Health Integration Model

To overcome access barriers to behavioral healthcare and to assist primary care providers in the management of commonly encountered behavioral health diagnoses, SHO has identified an opportunity to introduce a Behavioral Health Integration model of care. This model is an evidence-based, patient-centered, team-care approach allowing primary care and psychiatrist providers to collaborate, linked by a behavioral care manager who serves as the patient’s behavioral healthcare coordinator (point of contact). 

In this model, the care team–Care Manager, Primary Care Provider, and Consultant Psychiatrist–shares a defined group of patients who are tracked through a registry to ensure ongoing progress. The care manager serves one or more practice sites, depending on the case load, and provides frequent check-ins with the enrolled patients. The psychiatrist connects to the case manager and primary care provider on a weekly basis to provide recommendations for patients not meeting predefined treatment goals. With this approach, a consultant psychiatrist can cover multiple practice sites and would be hired in a partnership among participating SHO hospitals. 

This model allows the patient to receive physical and mental healthcare at the same location. Behavioral Health Integration has been shown to significantly increase the percentage of patients who are successfully treated and reduce overall care expenditure for this population. In addition, primary care providers who participated in a Behavioral Health Integration model had lower rates of professional burnout than a controlled cohort of peers. 

SHO is currently finalizing the details of actualizing this model, while also actively recruiting a qualified psychiatrist to fill the position. As one of SHO’s first shared specialty offerings across multiple hospitals, we are excited to extend similar processes into additional specialties in the near future.