In 2017, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) created two new models for doctors to integrate behavioral health into primary care and get paid for it. This is especially useful for rural patients who may have to travel far for psychiatric services.
One of the models requires remote collaboration with a psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner, but the more basic model, general behavioral health integration (BHI) does not. BHI can be provided by the physician or clinician alone, or by a staff member working under the physician or clinician. And because BHI does not require any specialized training, that staff member could be someone already working in your practice.
BHI requires that the physician/clinician or designated staff member spend a minimum of 20 minutes per month checking on patients who have a diagnosed behavioral health condition. The check-ins can be done by phone or in-person and usually involve things like asking about medication adherence and side effects. Under the 2019 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule, the treating physician/clinician is paid about $49 per month for each patient enrolled in BHI.
Read the full FPM article: “Bringing Behavioral Health Into Your Practice Through a Psychiatric Collaborative Care Program.”
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