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Bringing Behavioral Health Into Your Practice Through a Psychiatric Collaborative Care Program

Family physicians understand that integrating behavioral health with primary care improves outcomes in both mental and physical health. More than a dozen well-designed studies support that. In January 2017, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) rolled out new payment opportunities for primary care physicians and clinicians who integrate behavioral health into their practices. The four billable procedure codes are for two different levels of behavioral health care. The more basic service is called general behavioral health integration, or BHI, and can potentially be delivered by a physician alone. The more comprehensive service, the psychiatric collaborative care model (CoCM), requires a primary care (or other) physician or clinician to lead a team that includes a behavioral health care manager who checks in with patients at least once a month and an off-site psychiatric consultant who regularly reviews patients' progress and offers advice. This article will discuss how we implemented the CoCM model in our practice. It will also provide guidance on how you can establish a similar program to improve patients' access to behavioral health care while increasing revenue.

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