Sustaining Integrated Behavioral Health Practice Without Sacrificing the Continuum of Care

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Abstract

This article describes how an innovative model of practice transformation, used by 4 integrated pediatric primary care practices over a 2 year grant period, promoted the practice of integrated primary care (IPC) behavioral health services. Practice transformation was possible through the implementation of an alternative billing strategy to enhance sustainability, effective utilization of clinical productivity to provide meaningful patient services, and the identification of strategies to further the practice of IPC. Specifically, we provide: (a) a description of the diversity of billing strategies typically used by pediatric practices utilizing integrated care and how those strategies are impacted by state health care policies; (b) a description of the grant, including the service delivery model, implementation phase, and data collection procedures; (c) results of implementation and billing/reimbursement data that were collected across the 4 practices; (d) an analysis of how billing strategies are critical in defining implementation strategies within pediatric integrated care; and (e) lessons learned about how billing strategies must be flexible and amenable to change over time to stay current with ever-changing health care policies and reimbursement models.

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