Integrating Care for People with Behavioral Health Needs (In Focus Brief)

In Focus Brief
Publisher: Princeton, NJ: Mathematica Policy Research
Sep 11, 2014
Jonathan Brown

Features that may be useful for other states and communities to consider include:

  • Financing services creatively
  • Broadening available services and supports
  • Using information systems
  • Monitoring quality and improvement

In response to concerns over the poor quality of care for individuals with mental health and substance use disorders, more states and communities are working to better integrate and coordinate care for people with behavioral health conditions.

Several strategies are being used to improve care coordination. One approach is to integrate behavioral and physical health benefits within Medicaid managed care arrangements. Another is to take advantage of enhanced primary care case management (PCCM) programs; these programs offer financial incentives for primary care providers to coordinate care and function as medical homes. Some communities are also reorganizing delivery systems to place physical health providers in behavioral health care settings. States and communities may draw lessons from or adapt aspects of each of these approaches based on their own financing and delivery systems.

The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation engaged Mathematica to conduct case studies of four programs in Louisiana, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Vermont. Each program had distinct strategies to improve the integration and coordination of care for adults with behavioral health conditions. Mathematica also conducted a case study of Behavioral Health Home Plus, a pilot program that trained behavioral health staff and integrated nurses to provide wellness services in two behavioral health agencies in rural Pennsylvania.

Related projects:

Strategies for Integrating and Coordinating Care for Behavioral Health Populations: Case Studies of Four States

Integrating Physical Health Care and Wellness Services in Community Behavioral Health Agencies: Case Studies of Two Agencies in Pennsylvania