• AAFP Joins Behavioral Health Integration Collaborative

    Group Publishes Online Compendium; New Webinars Coming

    January 7, 2021, 8:48 am News Staff —The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on behavioral health in the United States. In fact, the pandemic is one of several reasons why, this past fall, the AAFP and seven other physician organizations formed the Behavioral Health Integration Collaborative. The collaborative is designed to incorporate behavioral and mental health into overall health care and to increase patient access to behavioral health by giving clinicians the support necessary to deliver these services in a primary care setting.

    physician consulting with female patient

    Over the last few months, the collaborative has developed a series of free webinars titled “Overcoming Obstacles: Sustaining Behavioral Health Care in Your Practice,” which help guide clinicians on providing physical and behavioral health care during and after the pandemic. To date the collaborative has published five webinars covering a range of topics such as billing and coding, using telemedicine to provide virtual support of behavioral health, and addressing the stigma associated with behavioral and mental health conditions.

    In its latest endeavor, the collaborative has created a new tool for physicians interested in integrating behavioral health into their practices. The BHI Compendium, published in December, complements the webinar series while providing additional guidance and resources on the integration process.

    “We know that plenty of resources for behavioral health integration exist, but it can be difficult to find them when you need them,” said Amy Mullins, M.D., the Academy’s medical director of quality and science, who also serves as the AAFP’s representative to the collaborative. “The compendium is designed to bring these resources together in one convenient location, which will save you time and help you deliver the best care to your patients.”

    Compendium Details

    The BHI Compendium is comprised of 12 chapters, each addressing a different element of behavioral health. Among its contents are chapters that discuss models of care, help practices assess their readiness to implement BHI and establish metrics of success, and explore different approaches to maintaining financial stability.

    Each chapter contains links to at least one external resource. In addition, the compendium contains a “Resources & Tools” section featuring links to more than 60 online toolkits, reports and published articles.

    Clinicians are also invited to share other resources and provide feedback on ways to improve future editions of the compendium.  

    More Webinars Coming Soon

    Along with the compendium, clinicians can look forward to two new webinars to be published later this month:

    • “BHI implementation: How to make the best decisions for your practice and patients” and
    • “Privacy and security: Know the rules for safe and secure communication of behavioral health information.”

    Additional details on these webinars are forthcoming on the Overcoming Obstacles webinar series page.