- Kara Hill, MHA, Director of Integrated Health Care, Mental Health America of Greater Houston, Houston, TX
- Alejandra Posada, M.Ed., Chief Operating Officer, Mental Health America of Greater Houston, Houston, TX
- Angela Cummings, DrPH, MSPH, Med, Assistant Professor, Baylor College of Medicine – Section of Public Health and Child Abuse Pediatrics, Houston, TX
Mental Health America of Greater Houston’s (MHAGH) Integrated Health Care Initiative works with over 50 organizational collaborators to expand and enhance integrated health care in greater Houston and Texas. A recent focus has been the expansion of integrated care to private practice, particularly private pediatric practices. Private pediatric practices that accept CHIP and Medicaid form a de facto part of the safety net, yet they have been largely left out of the movement towards greater integration of behavioral health in primary care. In 2018, in partnership with the Texas Children’s Hospital system, MHAGH funded a pilot project to bring integrated behavioral health to two private pediatric practices and evaluate the financial sustainability of offering integrated behavioral health care in such settings. Since then, Texas Children’s Hospital has expanded this pilot to several additional private pediatric practices. In response to barriers encountered during the pilot, MHAGH has developed capacity-building trainings such as How to Pay for Integrated Health Care in a Fee-for-Service Environment and Credentialing for Behavioral Health Providers in Integrated Health Care. To enhance provider skills, MHAGH is also partnering with The REACH Institute to provide mini-fellowships for private practice pediatricians to expand their knowledge and ability to address mental health conditions seen in their practices. Expansion to private practice strengthens integrated care to help meet complex needs in a greater variety of settings. To promote such expansion, this presentation will include original, empirical data from the pilot project, including data regarding financial sustainability. The presenters will also discuss the process of moving the private pediatric practices towards integrated behavioral health care, including training provided for the practices, as well as actions now being implemented in response to workforce- and payment-related barriers encountered.
- Identify ways to leverage existing integrated health care efforts to expand to non-traditional providers of integrated care, such as private practices.
- Describe essential steps that support private pediatric practices in integrating behavioral health care.
- Discuss barriers to expansion of integrated health care to private practice, as well as approaches to mitigate such barriers.