November 3, 2021, 10:47 a.m. News Staff — The Behavioral Health Integration Collaborative, a coordinated effort of the AAFP, the AMA and six other leading medical associations, this month unveiled an enhanced BHI Compendium to assist clinicians in meeting their patients’ mental and behavioral health needs.
Additionally, the AMA has released a series of complementary practice guides offering physicians and their care teams practical guidance on four key areas of effective integrated care: practice workflow design, psychopharmacological treatment, substance use disorder and suicide prevention.
The updated BHI Compendium spans 12 chapters covering four broad areas: a welcome section, and sections on basics and background, getting started, and implementation.
While much of the language remains the same as in the Compendium’s previous version, some parts have been revised or expanded to include links to selected guidance documents and featured segments from the Collaborative’s “Overcoming Obstacles” webinar series.
Other sections feature entirely new language. Among the notable additions, a chapter on potential approaches to BHI features a new callout entry on ways that clinicians can leverage telehealth to support BHI implementation in their practices; a chapter on aligning the care team includes a new section, “Assembling Your Team,” that discusses how a practice’s setting determines staffing needs; and a chapter on designing workflows includes new tips, callouts and links to related resources.
A fifth section, “Resources & Tools,” includes links to a dozen additional items that were not in the previous version of the compendium.
The Compendium is supplemented by a series of new practice how-to guides from the AMA designed to give clinicians additional knowledge and resources in three specific areas.
Psychopharmacology outlines a series of evidence-based best practices that clinicians and other care team members can use to guide primary care practices in determining when and how to treat patients who have behavioral health issues with psychotropic medications
Substance Use Disorder covers best practices and steps for clinicians to identify patients with SUD, evaluate their condition, determine a patient’s risk for unhealthy substance use or misuse and provide treatment.
Suicide Prevention offers actionable, evidence-based practices and procedures to assist clinicians in the care of patients who are at risk of or are actively contemplating suicide. The guide lists roles and responsibilities for various members of the care team, reviews risk factors for suicidal ideation, discusses the best ways to establish and implement a treatment plan, and includes a list of billing codes for screening, evaluation and treatment.
For clinicians interested in more fully integrating mental and behavioral health services into their practices, the AMA has also created a Workflow Design Guide and three accompanying documents.
The design guide walks health care professionals through the process of developing an effective and efficient BHI workflow, and reminds them to consider factors such as staffing, technology and the best ways to identify and engage patients. The guide also features a case study as an example of the effective integration of behavioral health care into a primary care practice.
The remaining items in the series include a BHI workflow plan resource to help practices design a workflow that runs efficiently and effectively for their specific practice and patients, a set of BHI workflow examples for practices based on co-location, integrated care and coordinated care models, and a sample “warm handoff” script that clinicians can use when introducing a behavioral health specialist, or referring or transporting a patient for additional care.
The BHI Collaborative was formed in the fall of 2020 in response to concerns about a lack of patient access to behavioral and mental health care. In addition to the AAFP and the AMA, its members include the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American College of Physicians, the American Osteopathic Association and the American Psychiatric Association.