Innovator Name: David Coe
Position: Executive Director, Colonial Behavioral Health
VHIN: What are some of the most promising approaches to the integration of behavioral health and primary care?
I go straight to the concept of integrated care coordination. A particular strength of the behavioral health field is an ability to assist patients through the maze of services, providers, and skills needed for effective patient self-management supports. This includes a real focus on the social determinates of health (including poverty, housing, employment, relationship skills, activities of daily living, etc.) that can be difficult to incorporate into broader primary care approaches.
On the other hand, primary care has the advantage of large networks, electronic health record development advantages, a longer-term understanding of outcome-based reimbursement, and other aspects of both infrastructure and medical specialties that are necessary to provide a comprehensive approach to patient care.
Based on the relative acuity and/or chronicity of any patient’s behavioral health and/or primary care health needs, both systems are needed if we are to be as effective as we want to be – and need to be.