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If you have ever struggled with how difficult it is to access mental health services then you know the primary reason for the Primary Care Behavioral Health (PCBH) model. Imagine being able to visit your doctor’s office and have your trusted physician invite a behavioral health professional into the same exam room to discuss how you might improve the quality of your sleep, cope with a recent loss, or manage your diabetes more effectively. PCBH is about providing access to care at the time you need it, coordinated with the care your medical professional provides to achieve the best possible and cost-efficient outcomes. Read more below!

Behavioral health issues account for 20% to 40% of all concerns raised in a primary care visit; “PCBH” is a model of behavioral healthcare that focuses on addressing behavioral health concerns impacting a patient’s overall health, within a primary care office. PCBH utilizes Behavioral Health Consultants (BHCs) trained in empirically-supported, brief interventions to treat mild to moderate concerns that commonly present in primary care offices, such as anxiety, depression, and the management of chronic health conditions such as obesity, chronic pain, and diabetes. BHC’s work alongside primary care providers, nurses, administrators and other healthcare providers to deliver services in exam rooms through warm hand-offs (unscheduled, impromptu visits) or scheduled visits. The PCBH model uses a population-based approach to improve the general public’s access to appropriate and effective behavioral health services, that might be otherwise lost through the referral process. The PCBH model also offers an opportunity for providers to engage in bidirectional learning, collaborate care, and opportunities to coordinate care, improving the overall functioning of a shared patient.

The PCBH model has the potential to impact various aspects of health care. For instance, the PCBH model can assist primary care practices in the achievement of the Quadruple Aim (improving population health, increasing patient satisfaction, reducing per-capita costs, improving provider satisfaction). The PCBH model has also helped many practices achieve the goals of Patient Centered Medical Homes (PCMH) which aim to provide more efficient, population-based team care within primary care. With an emphasis on managing co-morbid conditions, such as diabetes, the PCBH model can also be an innovative approach to achieving improved health behavior outcomes in a practice. And as medical homes and value-based outcomes continue to drive the direction of the service delivery, the PCBH model can help a practice achieve positive changes for the patient, primary care provider, and health care delivery system. To make this happen on a larger scale changes in funding, policy and regulations, workforce development and research and evaluation have to be adopted. The PCBH Special Interest Group (SIG) is where we work to make this happen.

The purpose of the Primary Care Behavioral Health Special Interest Group is to: To grow interest and enthusiasm, provide learning experiences, and promote actionable dissemination activities among CFHA members regarding PCBH Service Model delivery.  Discussion topics will include:  funding, policy and procedures, advocacy, skill acquisition, training models, and research and evaluation. The SIG will also promote and support CFHA conference workshops and presentations focusing on PCBH Service Model delivery.