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Behavioral Health Integration Networking & Collaboration Group

Tatiana Sarkhosh, MPH
Program Manager, WCAAP

Our Amerigroup-sponsored Behavioral Health Integration (BHI) Networking and Collaboration group is continuing to meet monthly to discuss how to maximize a practice’s BHI program within this new healthcare context. The group is comprised of pediatricians, Licensed Clinical Social Workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists from several regions across the state. The diversity of expertise and BHI programs contributes to a rich discussion surrounding the selected monthly topic.

In April, the focus was on workflows of the Behavioral Health Consultants (BHC) and how to maximize their time within the team when they are working remotely. We learned from three different pediatric practices about how they structure the time of the BHC, complete screenings, facilitate warm hand-offs, and actively outreach to patients. Hearing from practices with different program designs and staffing structures was a valuable way to identify common best practices and opportunities for other providers to implement in their clinic. Other key takeaways from the meeting include:

  • Active outreach to patients who could benefit from BHC televisit has been successful. Parents are responding positively and are grateful for the opportunity for their child to be seen remotely by a BHC.
  • Clinics have started campaigns for their social media sites to let patients know how to access BH telehealth services.
  • Warm handoffs look different for each clinic. Some are pre-scheduled, others give a window of time the patient will be contacted, and some clinics message all BHCs during the appointment to identify the first available provider.
  • Some clinics are considering incorporating a pre-visit check-in with the MA to solve connection issues and streamline the visit for the provider.
  • One clinic conducts the screening verbally at the start of the visit and others send the screener through the message portal prior to the visit.
  • One clinic has started reaching out to new moms with infants 0-6 months to conduct a high-level Post Partum Mood Disorder screening. Many mothers have been appreciative of this check-in with the BHC.
  • There is overall concern about an impending behavioral health crisis among kids returning to school after the pandemic. Some clinics are preparing for this by considering incorporating trauma screening into their visits.

Our next meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, May 26th from 7:30 to 8:30 AM, will focus on how to maximize billing for BHI programs. Please email if you are interested in joining this group.