Academy launches Behavioral Health Integration Toolkit
The judges’ tallies are in and we have three winners in TAFP’s first-ever Behavioral Health Integration Innovators Competition. In May, the Academy put out a call to primary care practices asking them to submit their unique models of behavioral health integration for the chance to win $10,000. Entries were judged by the TAFP Behavioral Health Task Force, which was appointed after the Academy identified the need for greater integration of behavioral health services in primary care as a top priority in its strategic plan.
The judges selected winners in each of three care settings: academic health centers, integrated health systems, and solo and small group practices. The winners are the Memorial Family Medicine Residency Program of Sugar Land in the academic setting category, the Heart of Texas Community Health Center of Waco in the integrated health systems category, and the Hope Clinic of McKinney in the small group and solo practice category.
“In our strategic planning, we discussed family physicians struggling to treat their patients' behavioral health problems,” says Janet Hurley, MD, chair of the Behavioral Health Task Force. “We put together the behavioral health task force to help educate and empower members to act locally.”
The Academy gathered a group a group of behavioral health experts across specialties to collaborate on the contest and to help develop a toolkit of resources to help members integrate behavioral health into their practices.
“One key goal of the Behavioral Health Integration Innovators Competition was to prove that integrated behavioral health could occur in Texas, utilizing payment mechanisms that exist in our state,” Hurley says. “While there are many models of behavioral health integration found in other states, we had to prove this type of model could be financially sustainable in Texas.”
The inaugural competition shed light on many successful integration models, and the task force was surprised by the number of primary care practices in Texas that are successfully doing it.
“We were both shocked and excited when we learned we’d received 30 submissions to the competition,” Hurley says. “While not all practices could win, we still plan to share some of the best practices from the top-ranking models. By doing this, we hope it will empower others to integrate behavioral health into their practices.”
TAFP’s new Behavioral Health Integration Toolkit aims to help members learn how to implement behavioral health resources in their practices and how to bill for those services. There are resources from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, examples of successful integration models, and access to a geomapped listing of local behavioral health resources.
The winners of the competition will present their successful integrated behavioral health models at the Annual Session and Primary Care Summit in The Woodlands in November, and other models will be featured soon under the “Models and mentors” section of the Behavioral Health Integration Toolkit.
“We are very thankful for the incredible expertise we were able to consult with the task force,” Hurley says, "and we hope that the competition and toolkit reveal resources and best practices that help members integrate behavioral health into their practices.”
Great appreciation goes out to the task force members.
- Jeff Bullard, MD, Family Physician at MaxHealth, CEO of Vault, Catalyst Health Network Board Member and Medical Director (Colleyville)
- Sandra Van Wyk, MD, Psychiatry Resident at UT Dell Medical School (Austin)
- Stacy Ogbeide, PsyD, MS, ABPP, Associate Professor/Clinical and Primary Care Behavioral Health Consultant at UT Health (San Antonio)
- Edward Dick, MD, Senior VP of Integrated Health Services for Methodist Healthcare Ministries (San Antonio)
- Theresa Murphy, LCSW, Director of Behavioral Health Methodist Charlton Family Medicine Residency Program / Methodist Health System (Dallas)
- Diane Dougherty, PhD, Clinical Psychologist (Baytown)
- Richard "Garrett" Key, MD, Psychiatrist at Dell Medical School (Austin)
- Deepu George, PhD, LMFT, Division Chief of Behavioral Medicine and Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at UT Health Rio Grande Valley (McAllen)