Integrated Primary Care
Most current discussions about health reform mention the lack of mental health services for people all across the country: urban and rural; insured and uninsured; young and old. Community health centers are frequently mentioned as providers of mental health and behavioral health services because, by design, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) offer comprehensive primary care across the life cycle. Although centers are required to address physical as well as behavioral health needs of their patients, there is not a federal requirement on how the clinical team delivers that care. One of the most effective service delivery models for increasing access to behavioral health services is integration: one clinical team in one primary location providing physical and mental health care services.
Attendees at TACHC's March 2010 Behavioral Health Integration Forum: Moving Beyond the Models expressed a clear desire to have more training on integrated care. Centers recognize that physical and mental conditions are often related and that many patients have multiple problems - meeting all of the patient's needs can often be a daunting task.
Implementing Integrated Primary Care Training Program
In response to requests, TACHC developed a year-long training program that provides an overarching vision of integrated care as well as training for clinical staff. Implementing Integrated Primary Care (IIPC) was designed to assist participants as they mold their clinical model into one that blends separate disciplines into an integrated team.
TACHC is pleased to be working with Cherokee Health Systems (CHS) located in Knoxville, Tennessee. CHS is a nationally recognized leader in providing integrated primary and behavioral health care and is designated as both a Community Mental Health Center and an FQHC. CHS has trained more than 100 healthcare organizations nationwide, and we are fortunate to have them as partners in this effort.
2010-2011 Learning Activities
Training throughout the year is delivered monthly via webinars, conference calls and site visits. Topics include change management, team development, collaboration, patient involvement, record-sharing, strategic planning, and assistance with solving specific problems. The kick-off event is attendance at the CHS Training Academy in Knoxville. Participants see the CHS model in action and learn directly from the center staff. A tour and extensive networking time are part of the visit so participants are exposed to the environment, personality types and clinical skills that make working with an embedded behavioral health provider so successful.
A separate face-to-face training in Dallas will highlight the need for developing a business plan that helps sustain a behavioral health program. The workshop features CHS's Chief Financial Officer as well as Texas health center staff members that bring the local perspective.
Conference calls and webcasts are customized by TACHC and CHS to meet the needs of the participants as they develop their own integration program and include practical advice and assistance with creating an action plan and implementing it. Each participant will have a site visit from TACHC staff for technical assistance and support. Content will be site-specific and developed with participant input.
Detecting and managing depression is essential to the success of all behavioral health programs and is an important element of the IIPC program. Therefore, each center will track depression within a segment of their patient population. Each center determines the patient population and screening method they will use to meet this requirement.
For more information about the IIPC program contact Verne LaGrega at firstname.lastname@example.org or (512) 329-5959.