Primary Care and Behavioral Health: Just the Facts

In the last two decades suicide rates increased by 30% between 2000-2020.

"There is no path forward that does not include integrating behavioral health into primary care. Primary care is where most people get medications and where people expect to be treated, and we have evidence-based practices that work.” -- Mike Thompson, President and CEO, National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions

"In 2019, suicide was the second leading cause of death for African Americans, ages 15 to 24, according to the Office of Minority Health. Because these alarming rates reflect the health of our nation, it is imperative we address the intersectionality of social and health inequities and access to quality and culturally relevant mental health services.” – Yoko Allen, Senior Program Manager, Black Women’s Health Imperative

"We see a lot of different kinds of people and different needs and like many places there are definite health disparities regarding behavioral health. It is not easy to find a psychiatrist. It is not easy to find a therapist. Collaborative care and other evidence-based models are a great strategy to narrow those gaps.” – Alin Severance, Medical Director, Behavioral Health Services, UPMC Health Plan

The Foundation for Progress: Payment Reform and Investment in Primary Care

  • Promote Medicare’s existing collaborative care and behavioral health integration codes to primary care practices, health plans and purchasers
  • Test behavioral health integration strategies as part of a hybrid primary care payment approach, inclusive of a majority per member per month (PMPM) payment and fee for service payments.
  • Remove Medicare’s initial in-person requirement necessary to trigger payment for tele-mental health services
  • Assure access to upfront resources to support primary care practice transition to integrated care
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